Rajnath launches MoD portal, DPSUs sign multiple contracts

by Editorial

While celebrating the ‘Aatmanirbhar Week’ in the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched Department of Defence Production, MoD’s portal SRIJAN, which is a one-stop shop online portal that provides access to the vendors to take up items that can be taken up for indigenisation.

Four contracts of Defence India Start-up Challenge under Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) and four Mousy between industry partners and defence PSUs were also signed in the presence of the Defence Minister. A number of Expressions of Interest (EOI) and Requests for Proposal (RFPs) were also issued.

Speaking on the occasion, Rajnath Singh said signing of these MoUs and contracts will lead us to self-reliance in the technologies related to defence manufacturing. He called upon the Indian industry partners to show complete commitment and take proactive participation in the pursuit of indigenization and self-reliance in the defence sector. He said, “Self-reliance in defence manufacturing has been envisioned not only as a domestic requirement but also with export perspective and can be made possible with concerted efforts. With these things in mind, the government has taken important steps like corporatization of entities, reforms in FDI limits and recently released negative list of imports.”

He also mentioned,” Till sometime back, for our defence procurèrent, we have been looking towards the best technologies available in the world. But now our outlook has changed. We are thinking on how to manufacture the latest equipment ourselves or through joint ventures or transfer-oftechnology.”Commending DDP for creating SRIJAN portal, Rajnath Singh said this will help industry partners to play an active role in the goal of self-reliance in the defence sector.

 Pursuant to Aatmanirbhar Bharat announcement, Department of Defence Production, MoD has developed an indigenization portal (srijandefence.gov.in), as opportunities for Make in India in defence, which will give information on items that can be taken up for indigenization by the private sector. On this portal, DPSUs/ OFB/SHQs can display their items which they have been importing or are going to import which the Indian industry can design, develop and manufacture as per their capability or through joint venture with OEMs. The Indian industry will be able to show its interest. The concerned DPSUs/OFB/SHQs, based on their requirement of the items and their guidelines & procedures will interact with the Indian industry for indigenization. The portal displays information in a structured way, which includes the item name, image and specification, values of imports, NATO Classification (indicative), etc. It also has a search facility.

In the first stage, DPSUs/ OFB/SHQs have displayed those items which they have imported in 2019-20 and are going to import in 2020-21, for the annual value of the items as Rs 1 million and above.

 There are over 3,000 unique items with a value of over Rs 10,000 Crore that are available through the portal. DDP signed 4 contracts of Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) 3 under Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX). iDEX aims to create an ecosystem which fosters innovation and encourages technology development in defence by engaging R&D institutes, academia, industries, startups and individual innovators.

 The iDEX framework was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2018. iDEX is being implemented by Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), a Section 8 company formed for this purpose, with Rs 50 crore support each from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), both of which are defence public sector units. More than 700 startups and innovators responded to the 3 rounds of Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC), out of which over 55 startups/ individuals have been selected to receive innovation grants in 15 technological areas under DISC 1, 2 and 3, through the prototype funding guidelines called ‘Support for Prototype and Research Kickstart’ (SPARK), which entail provisioning of grants upto Rs 1.5 crore to the startups on the basis of milestones through multiple tranches. For 44 winners identified under DISC 1 & 2, till date, 28 contracts have been signed and first tranche/second tranche has been released to the winners for prototype development. Under DISC 3, a total of 14 winners from three challenges (one each from Army, Navy and Air Force) were approved by the DIO Board on 3 February 2020. Out of the 14 winners, the first batch of four winners – three winners from Army challenge and one from Air Force challenge have been cleared for signing the SPARK Grant Contract. All the four contracts were signed on 14th August, 2020.

DPSU Mazgaon Dockyard Limited (MDL) signed MoU for indigenous overhauling of main motor of SSK class submarines with Medha Servo Drives Pvt Ltd. Presently overhaul of the main motor of SSK class submarines is carried out in Germany by a foreign firm. MDL is in the process of developing an Indian company, Medha Servo Drives Pvt. Ltd, to undertake the same in India. This would be aligned with the aims and objectives of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, apart from savings in time and cost (which are as yet not quantifiable). Success of this effort could even lead to indigenization of the Main Motor of submarines, which would be an extremely significant achievement. It is envisaged that MoU with the firm would be signed during the period 7–14 August 2020.Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) signed MoU with IIT Goa for Artificial Intelligence, IoT-CFD and other technology related fields. Key outcomes envisaged from the MoU with IIT-Goa are as follows:

1) Collaboration and undertaking joint research and development programs/ projects in Naval ship building design, Smart Manufacturing, Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing and Composites.

2) Share equipment, personnel and R&D facilities to facilitate research activities related to projects undertaken in the above-mentioned technical areas.

3) Evaluate and decide acquisition of new systems/ equipment for Projects undertaken in the abovementioned technical areas.

4) Facilitate internship of students of IIT-Goa with GSL.

5) Technology up-gradation training programs for GSL personnel.

6) To combine collective knowledge and technical expertise to develop new business opportunities in the above-mentioned technical areas.

 An MoU on development of UAVs was signed between Defence PSU BEML and IIT, Kanpur. BEML signed another MoU on development of AI products with NASSCOM, Bengaluru. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited issued an ‘expression of interest’ for indigenization of 46 numbers of items for Russian project under Make-II having total value of Rs. 100 crores. BEL Issued EOI/ RFP for indigenization of the following 5 items having total value of Rs. 31 crore.

 1) Brazing wire: Brazing wires are special alloys, presently being imported, are required for the vacuum brazing process.

2) Motion Platform, 6 degrees of freedom & payload 1000-2000 kg: Critical sub-assembly for vehicular simulators, presently imported.

 3) Dummy weapons for small arm simulators: Critical components for various small arms simulators, not available indigenously.

4) Single Board Computer (SBC), Printed Circuit Board (PCB): Presently these PCBs are imported. SBC is used in current and future projects, hence indigenization is required, for cost savings & long-term maintenance. And

5) Design & development of 62X Day Zoom Lens: There is a huge requirement for Army, MHA and other agencies for long range day surveillance equipment. Day Zoom Lens is a part of this equipment being imported. Indigenization will achieve self-sustainability for manufacturing this item and avoids imported content.

BDL Issued EOI/ RFP for indigenization of 11 items under Make-II having total value of 15 crore. Components and sub-assemblies of naval products like, under-water connecters, contactors, ring laser gyro, pressure transducer, free gyro, Heli receiver, ATGM components & sub-assemblies like amplifiers, communication unit, transducer sub-assemblies and octol for war head of SAM missiles are ready for releasing RFP under MakeII. By indigenisation of the above saving of Rs. 15 crore will be achieved.

During the week-long Atmanirbhar Bharat celebrations new facilities were launched and/ or upgraded, contracts and MoUs were signed and EoI/ RFP were issued. Concluding his remarks Rajnath Singh said the events during the week long celebrations have taken the country forward towards a new unity among industry, academia, research and development, management, manpower and technology will take the country to new heights.

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