TAMIL NADU

Rs. 3,100-crore projects for defence corridor launched

Major milestone:Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking at the launch of the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor in Tiruchi on Sunday.M. Moorthy

Major milestone:Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking at the launch of the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor in Tiruchi on Sunday.M. Moorthy  

Union Minister calls for the setting up of a panel to facilitate further investment

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday flagged off projects envisaging a total investment of Rs. 3,100 crore by the Ordnance Factory Board, Defence Public Sector Undertakings and the private sector in the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor (TNDII).

Attributing the fructification of TNDII to the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to develop the State and the cooperation of the State government, the Union Minister called for the setting up of a committee by the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) to facilitate further investment in TNDII through constant interaction with officials and to liaise with the manufacturers of defence products on behalf of outsourcing industries.

Ms. Sitharaman assured the Defence Ministry’s support for the conversion of the offset obligation of foreign companies exporting defence products to India into substantial investments in TNDII. She urged the outsourcing industries to scale up their capabilities to fulfil the quality parameters for defence products.

Seeking to allay the fears of defence PSUs, Ms. Sitharaman assured that there would be no retrenchment in such PSUs.

Innovation centre

The Defence Minister also launched the CODISSIA (Coimbatore District Small Scale Industries Association) Defence Innovation and Incubation Centre to help MSMEs, start-ups and existing industries to contribute significantly towards defence indigenisation.

Industries Minister M.C. Sampath said Tamil Nadu was a leading State in the manufacture of defence equipment, ships and weapons-grade products.

Mr. Sampath urged the Central government to utilise the surplus land on the premises of the Salem Steel Plant for TNDII. Coimbatore and Salem were well suited for the manufacture of fighter aircraft, he said.

Aerospace and defence

He announced that the Aerospace and Defence Industrial Policy had been formulated by the government and would be released on January 23 at the inaugural session of the Global Investors Meet 2019 in Chennai.

Secretary of Defence Production Ajay Kumar said there was enormous scope for scaling up exports of defence products through the Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The value of defence exports is poised to go up from Rs. 4,500 crore during 2017-18 to Rs. 10,000 crore by March 2019, he said.

Tiruchi MP P. Kumar and Tourism Minister Vellamandi N. Natarajan also addressed the gathering of industrialists.

A slew of new products of OFB, HAL and BEL was launched on the occasion. The products included the Tiruchi Assault Rifle, developed indigenously by Ordnance Factory Tiruchi, and the Arjun Mark 1-A Tank, developed by DRDO.

The Ordnance Factory Board has promised the largest investment of Rs. 2,305 crore in TNDII. The other investors include the Bharat Electronics Limited (Rs. 140.5 crore), the Bharat Earth Movers Limited (Rs. 40 crore), the Bharat Dynamics Limited (Rs. 150 crore), the Mazagon Dock Limited (Rs. 15 crore), TVS (Rs. 50 crore), Lakshmi Machine Works (Rs. 150 crore), Data Patterns (Rs. 75 crore), Alpha Design (Rs. 100 crore), and the Aerospace Industry Development Association of Tamil Nadu (Rs. 163 crore).

Top officials of these companies, who made the announcements, promised to scale up investment gradually in the quadrilateral corridor with Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Coimbatore and Tiruchi as nodal points.

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