Defence Ministry Current Affairs - 2019
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Union Defence Ministry has signed contract worth Rs 2,435.15 crore with public sector Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata for manufacturing of four survey vessels aimed at boosting to capabilities of Indian Navy. The project completion time is 54 months from date of signing contract. The first ship will be delivered within 36 months and remaining within interval of six months for each vessel.
- These survey vessels will 110 metre long with deep displacement capacity of 3,300 tonnes and complement of 231.
- They will be equipped with highly advanced state-of-the-art hydrographic equipment and sensors including Hello Hanger to accommodate one advanced light helicopter.
- The design and construction of these vessels will be as per Classification Society Rules and Naval Ship Regulations and also conform to latest MARPOL (Marine Pollution) Standards of International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
- These vessels will be used for full-scale coastal and deep-water hydrographic survey of ports and harbours, approaches and determination of navigational channels and routes.
- They will be also used to undertake surveys of maritime limits up to Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and extended continental shelf. They will be deployed for collection of oceanographic and geophysical data for defence applications.
- In their secondary role, they will also perform limited search and rescue, ocean research and operate as hospital ship and casualty holding ships.
Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE)
- It is defence PSU and one of India’s leading state-owned shipyards, located in Kolkata, West Bengal. It builds and repairs commercial and naval vessels. It also has started building export ships.
- It was founded in 1884 as small privately owned company on eastern bank of Hooghly River. It was renamed as Garden Reach Workshop in 1916. It was nationalised by Government in 1960.
- It has Miniratna status. It is first Indian shipyard to build 100 warships. It is currently handling major project to make three Stealth Frigates for Indian Navy under P17A Project.
- 100 warships built by GRSE so far range from advanced frigates to anti-submarine warfare corvettes to fleet tankers, fast attack crafts, etc.
The Ministry of Defence has released draft policy on defence production that aims to make India one of the top five manufacturers of defence platforms with active participation of public and private sectors. The ministry has sought comments and suggestions of experts and stakeholders on policy. At present, India is one of the world’s largest importer of military platforms and weapons.
Objectives of Policy
- Make India self-reliant in defence production as well as fulfil demand of friendly countries. Achieve turnover of Rs.1,70,000 crore in military goods and services by 2025 by promoting domestic defence industry.
- Make India one of top five manufacturers of defence platforms with active participation of public and private sectors.
- Achieve export of Rs. 35,000 crore in military equipment and services by 2025 by promoting the domestic defence industry.
- Attract additional investment of nearly Rs 70,000 crore and create employment for nearly 2 to 3 million people in the country.
Identified military platforms: The policy identifies 12 military platforms and weapons systems for production in India to achieve aim of self-reliance. They are fighter aircraft, warships, land combat vehicles, missile systems, medium lift and utility helicopters, gun systems, small arms, ammunition and explosives, electronic warfare (EW) systems, surveillance systems and night fighting enablers, among others.
Licensing process for defence industries: It will be liberalised and list of items requiring licences will be reviewed and pruned. Except small negative list, other items will be taken out of purview of licensing. All applications for licences for defence industires will be disposed off in 30 days. No-objection certificates (NOCs) and comments from all agencies must necessarily be received within two weeks of filing of applications by the companies.
Tax regime for defence industries: It will be also rationalised to make domestic manufacturing attractive by ensuring that there is no tax inversion. Rationalise taxes on import of capital goods and services, inputs and components used in defence production.