Mumbai, Feb 10 (PTI) The Centre is attempting to boost MSME sector’s contribution towards indigenous manufacturing in defence from the present 20-30 to 70 per cent in the next five years under its ambitious ‘Make in India’ programme, Lt General Ravi Thodge (Retd) said here today. Also Read - Karnataka: Tiger Vikram, Star Attraction of Pilikula Zoo, Dies of Old Age

Lt Gen Thodge, AVSM, SM, VSM, who retired as Master General Ordnance, was addressing an interactive meeting, jointly organised by All India Association of Industries (AIAI) and World Trade Centre Mumbai. Also Read - International Flights: SpiceJet Announces 8 New Flights Between India, Bangladesh From Nov 5 | Details Here

“This will not only boost opportunities for the MSME sector, but also lead to job creation,” he said. Also Read - COVID-19: India Records Lowest Daily Spike in Cases in Three Months, Recovery Rate Goes Beyond 90% | 10 Points

At present, India is importing nearly 60 per cent of its defence manufacturing components. The Government of India is committed to working with MSMEs focusing on import substitution, he said.

The ‘Make in India’ programme puts great thrust on sustainability, Lt Gen Thodge said, adding that the Government is reaching out to MSMEs across India to encourage them to participate in this programme.

“The Government is also committed to introducing more clusters of defence manufacturing to help MSMEs reap the benefits of logistical efficiency, as well as to harness the benefits of innovation from all parts of the country,” he said.

“The Ministry of Defence is already working with the Government of Maharashtra to promote clusters in Nashik for aircraft components, forging and foundry in Kolhapur and for tank and combat vehicles in Pune,” he said.

The ministry was developing a testing center for Defence Procurement Assistance Center in Belgaum, Karnataka.

This will also help MSMEs with testing facilities.

On the issue of procedural delays and transparency keeping MSMEs wary of participating in the ‘Make in India’ programme, Lt Gen Thodge said since 2014, the Ministry had done away with physical tendering and today it is done through e-tendering.

“The Government is finalising RFPs for procuring ammunition of the value of Rs 2,500 crore per year under the ‘Make in India’ programme and that these would be uploaded soon. This would be a game changer,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.