Bhubaneswar : Defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said the Centre has decided to double the production capacity of two defence establishments in Odisha and concrete steps are being taken to make India an export hub in defence and make it self-reliant.
"The government has taken steps in defence sector by increasing FDI. This has been done in order to make India an export hub over the years," he said while addressing a meeting with the ex-servicemen here.
Rejecting apprehension that local manufacturers would be affected after allowing FDI in the sector, the defence minister said when the NDA government came to power, rate of import of defence material by India was 70 per cent.
"Now, import of defence items has come down to below 60 per cent. I can assure that by the time the government ends its first term, we will be able to bring down our imports to 40 per cent," Parrikar said.
After meeting the representatives of employees union of defence establishments in the state, Parrikar said the production capacity of of HAL, Sunabeda will be doubled in 3-4 years. The expansion work will start at Sunabeda in 6 to 7 months, he said. He added that the local BJP leaders have urged him to take steps for enhancing the production capacity of the ordnance factory in Badmal.
"We can help create some employment without taking token money from the candidate," Parrikar said, adding the local manufacturers will not be affected by the entry of FDI in defence sector.
Talking about the "one rank, one pension" (OROP) issue, he said its implementation has got delayed as the ex-servicemen have not been able to furnish the required documents on time.
He also took out time to meet Prasant Kumar Patnaik, his former teacher at IIT, Bombay.