Pune Emerges As Defence Powerhouse, Maharashtra Government To Come Out With New Policy To Boost Defence Industries – Devendra Fadnavis

Share this News:

Sumit Singh & Tikam Shekhawat

Pimpri Chinchwad, 24th February 2024: Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today inaugurated the country’s largest and Maharashtra’s first ‘Maharashtra MSME Defence Expo’ in Moshi, Pimpri Chinchwad, Pune.

In his address, Fadnavis emphasized the formulation of a new policy to promote the defence industry in Maharashtra, with a focus on developing micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in this sector.

Among the dignitaries present at the inauguration were State Higher and Technical Education Minister Chandrakant Patil, Industries Minister Uday Samant, Army Southern Command Chief Lt Gen Ajay Kumar Singh, Air Marshal Vibhas Pande, MP Shrirang Barne and MLA Ashwini Jagtap. Also in attendance were Harshdeep Kamble, Industries Principal Secretary, and Ganesh Nibe, Chairman and Managing Director of Nibe Limited.

Deputy Chief Minister Fadnavis highlighted the state’s aerospace and defence policy formulated in 2017, backed by a Rs 1,000 crore fund aimed at boosting the sector. The policy has led to the creation of 600 MSMEs, generating a value of 12 to 15 thousand crores. Fadnavis mentioned the global interest in collaborating with India in the defence sector and announced plans for a policy offering more facilities and concessions to MSMEs in this domain. He emphasized the dual goal of employment generation and local production of high-quality weapons.

Fadnavis praised the success of ‘Make in India’ in enhancing the country’s defence capability. He noted that India, once reliant on foreign countries for arms, now manufactures its own defence materials and exports them globally. With a focus on self-reliance, Fadnavis highlighted the savings of lakhs of crores of rupees for the country. He also mentioned that 30 percent of the ammunition required for aircraft and warships is now produced in India.

Pointing out Pune’s strategic importance, Fadnavis acknowledged the city’s role in India’s defence production landscape. Maharashtra leads the country in defence manufacturing, hosting critical establishments like the maintenance command of the Air Force, the southern command of the army, and the Mumbai dockyard of the navy. Fadnavis also highlighted the presence of high-tech defence systems such as Bharat Electronics and manufacturing units like the BDL missile unit near Amravati.

Defense Manufacturing: A Prime Opportunity for Engineering Students

The defence sector, heavily reliant on technology, offers a significant opportunity for engineering students. Being the technology capital, Pune has played a pivotal role in Maharashtra’s progress in the defence. The Industries Department has strategically decided to establish four clusters for MSMEs within the supply chain, fostering entrepreneurship in the field. The active participation of private organizations in the exhibition is a crucial factor contributing to the creation of a new ecosystem. Defence manufacturing presents a promising avenue for engineering students, urging them to explore ways to engage with this ecosystem through the ongoing exhibition.

On the first day of the exhibition, an impressive 80,000 citizens registered, signalling a keen interest among the youth in the defence credentials on display. Deputy Chief Minister Fadnavis expressed gratitude to the chiefs of the three armed forces and the defence industry for their cooperation, highlighting the contributions of the defence forces who showcased their weapons and equipment at the exhibition.

Minister Patil acknowledged the significance of the exhibition for engineering students, considering the burgeoning development of the defence industry in the country. He emphasized the integration of industry needs into the curriculum, a focus outlined in the new education policy. The central and state governments are collaborating to develop courses tailored to the industry’s requirements, with plans to implement them from next June.

Industries Minister Samant announced that Maharashtra’s MSMEs have made significant strides in the defence sector. The state is now actively involved in the production of modern weapons and helicopters for the Air Force, resulting in a decrease in the prices of these crucial products. Emphasizing the role of the state’s MSMEs in bolstering the country’s defence capabilities, Minister Samant expressed the commitment of the industries department to transform Maharashtra into a defence hub in the future. In a strategic move, plans are underway to establish defence clusters in Nagpur, Shirdi, Pune, and Ratnagiri.

Minister Samant assured that a substantial one thousand acres of land will be allocated based on the demands of defence sector industries.

Minister Samant extended an invitation to all, urging them to visit the exhibition. This defence expo initiative not only provides a golden opportunity for students and MSMEs to witness the intricacies of the system safeguarding the nation but also showcases the state’s dedication to strengthening the defence department. The event serves as a platform for people to gain insights into the vital contributions of Maharashtra’s MSMEs in the defence sector and the collaborative efforts to shape the state into a prominent defence hub for the future.

Union Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhat’s audio-visual message highlighted India’s inclusion among 25 arms-exporting countries and expressed confidence in India being recognized as a developed nation by 2047. He emphasized the need for fair competition between government organizations and MSMEs to ensure better and more affordable defence products, ultimately achieving self-sufficiency in the defence sector.

Principal Secretary Kamble provided insights into the Defence Expo, highlighting its significance as a first-time event in Maharashtra. With Maharashtra leading in the industry sector, the government is dedicated to promoting small, micro, and medium enterprises in the defence sector. Various MoUs related to defence production were exchanged during the event, further solidifying partnerships between industry players and the Government of Maharashtra.

The program witnessed the presence of notable figures, including Pimpri Chinchwad Police Commissioner Vinoy Kumar Choubey, Development Commissioner Dipendra Singh Kushwaha, Divisional Commissioner Chandrakant Pulkundwar, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Singh, and Chief Executive Officer of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation Dr. Vipin Sharma.