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Make in India gets big push as Modi government awards 56 defence licences to private companies

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‘AGNI-III’ missile, passes through the Rajpath during the 59th Republic Day Parade-2008, in New Delhi on January 26, 2008.

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Underlining its determination to have indigenous defence production as a cornerstone of its ‘Make in India’ drive, the Narendra Modi government has awarded a record 56 defence manufacturing permits to private sector entities in the past year.

According to the data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), a slew of applications, some of which had been pending for more than four years, have been cleared since the BJP government came to power.

The permits are the first step in the process to enable firms such as Mahindra, Tata and Pipavav  to set up production units for major military equipment.

The Tatas will now be able to upgrade major fighting units like the T 90 and T 72 tanks of the Indian Army while Mahindra has been given permits in a number of areas, including manufacturing naval systems like torpedoes, sea mines and boats.

Subsidiary companies like Mahindra Telephonics Integrated Systems and Tech Mahindra Ltd too have got defence permits.

The move stands as a major endorsement of the Indian private sector’s ability to operate in an arena that has until now been the preserve of foreign vendors and state-run entities.

Besides the established players, a number of new small firms are poised to enter the sector based on these clearances.

For example, Bullet Proof equipment manufacturer MKU will now be able to manufacture night vision devices while Bangalore-based Dynamatic Technologies has been granted a permit to manufacture Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company (PDOC), now being acquired by the Anil Ambani-run Reliance, has grabbed four permits to manufacture items ranging from medium tanks and howitzers to missiles, sensors and torpedoes.

In order to open up the defense sector, the government has started expediting clearances besides increasing the foreign investment limit for the defence sector to 49% and even up to 100% in select cases.

The process for application online and the validity of the Industrial license has been enhanced to seven years and speedy DIPP clearances are already being given for smaller items like components.

Complex matters such as the offset policy, blacklisting process as well as a specific route for the Make in India process are expected to be simplified through a new defence procurement policy, likely to be announced in the coming few weeks.

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Challenges to the Narendra Modi government before the Upcoming 2019 Elections

Modi needs to come up with an efficacious plan to tackle this fast approaching apocalypse

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Challenges to Modi Government
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia

By Gaurav Tyagi

August 12, 2017: India would be celebrating 70 years of independence from the British rule on 15th August. The current state of affairs, in the country despite tall claims by Indian establishment is bleak. There are enormous challenges that face the Modi government in India before the 2019 elections.

‘Make in India’ scheme was launched with much fanfare in September 2014 to overhaul the out-dated policies and processes thereby, making India a global manufacturing hub.

An NDTV report reveals the ground realities.

An entrepreneur, Saurabh Ahuja tried to import a $ 600 3D printer for manufacturing drones at his workshop in Delhi. He had to shell out another extra $900 in taxes and bribes for the customs department to release his consignment and that too after a period of three months.

The aforementioned case of Mr. Ahuja discloses that ‘red tapism’ is still highly prevalent in India. Big companies donate large funds to all major political parties therefore, they have easy access to the ‘corridors of power’ but a small budding entrepreneur is made to ‘run from pillar to post’ for getting various permissions from several government departments.

India’s bureaucracy is based on the British colonial model. British officers used to be in charge of administrative affairs when India was a British Colony. To ease their workload, they used to hire Indians at the clerical level. These Indians who served the British Empire thought very highly of themselves and regarded their fellow Indians with contempt.

Indian bureaucracy thus inherited a pretentious, rigid hierarchical functioning style from its colonial masters. These bureaucrats don’t have much accountability and continue in their plum posts till retirement. Their attitude towards ruling party politicians is servile while with general public they are disdainful.

They remain contented in their comfort zone of out-dated ideas and models.
Dealing with Indian authorities is a nightmare for every common citizen. These officials create hurdles and blocks at each step and expect gratification in form of bribes.

The situation is best summarized by Rajiv Bajaj, head of Bajaj Auto, a big industrial house of India. This is what he said in a recent speech this year, “If your innovation in the country depends on government approval or the judicial process, it will not be a case of ‘made in India’ but ‘mad’ in India.”

World Bank’s recent rankings for countries regarding ‘ease of doing business’ ranks India as 130th out of 190 nations.

Jobs in the Indian Information technology (IT) sector were highly sought after.  The rapid strides made by automation coupled with a strict visa regime in the United States have now turned Indian IT upside down.

There are estimates of heavy retrenchments in the IT field.

Kris Lakshmikanth, the Chairman and CEO of ‘The Head Hunters India’ say that the year 2017-18 will serve as a ‘wakeup’ year for the IT/BPO industry. He states that there would be a ‘Tsunami’ of IT layoffs in India with approximately 200,000 IT/BPO personnel losing their jobs per year during the next 3-4 years.

Also Read: We need to take Action Against the ‘Communal Violence in the name of Cow’ : PM Narendra Modi

Therefore, Indian Prime Minister; Modi’s recent statement, wherein he said that Information Technology plus Indian Talent=India Tomorrow (IT+IT=India Tomorrow) is way ‘off the mark’.

India is poised to overtake China as the world’s most populous country by 2024 according to a UN report.

Modi can talk all he wants and come up with fancy slogans but the harsh truth is that a corrupt, lethargic bureaucracy, swift population growth and cutting down of jobs in the IT sector are immense challenges and cannot be tackled by mere ‘catchy phrases’.

Lack of jobs to absorb a large number of fresh graduates passing out from Indian universities every year. The predatory attitude of bureaucracy, which discourages entrepreneurship in the country, sharply point towards looming mass unemployment in India.

This would turn India’s so called demographic dividend into a huge demographic liability in the very near future. Modi needs to come up with an efficacious plan to tackle this fast approaching apocalypse.

The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China.

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Congress alleges center for involvement in Rs. 20,000 crore ‘Ujala’ scam; also demands independent probe.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who claims that his government has distributed more than 21 crore LED bulbs, does not tell people that in the process, the government itself is making a mockery of its much-publicised 'Make in India' drive. "Crores of these LED bulbs, LED street lights, pumps and fans are made in China or in Taiwan"

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Representational image, courtesy: Wikimedia commons

New Delhi, March 27, 2017: The Congress party on Monday put the responsibility at the door of ruling NDA government accusing it for corruption in the process of procurement and distribution of ‘Ujala’ LED bulbs has given birth to a Rs 20,000-crore scam.

The party charged that the incumbent government was utilizing “dubious and questionable practices” for acquirement and dispersion of LED bulbs and requested an independent probe by a retired Supreme Court judge.

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“Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who claims that his government has distributed more than 21 crore LED bulbs, does not tell people that in the process, the government itself is making a mockery of its much-publicised ‘Make in India’ drive. “Crores of these LED bulbs, LED street lights, pumps and fans are made in China or in Taiwan,” said Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil.

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Gohil asserted that there was no transparency in the allotment of tender and acquirement of these LED bulbs, street lights, pumps and fans, among others.

“Cost of one such LED street light is about Rs 2,000. If we take into account the irregularities and fraud in the tendering process, this turns out to be a scam of at least Rs 20,000 crore,” he said.

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“While the Vigilance Commission mandates that such procurement should be publicised for RFQ (request for quotation) on the basis of merit and should be put on a government website, the Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (the procuring agency) puts it on their own private platforms for a short period, thus manipulating the entire process of tendering,” said Gohil.

“Although there are four Power Ministry PSUs involved in this entire process, the companies neither manufacture nor procure any part, not even a diode of the LED bulb. Instead, they procure from Chinese and other foreign companies,” he included in his statement.

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The Congress also pointed out that the Vigilance Commission guidelines categorically state that a third party audit has to be done after such procurement.

-prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard

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United Kingdom wants to make London as India’s “destination of choice” for raising offshore Finance, says British-Indian minister Alok Sharma

We want Indian companies and public sector entities to see the City of London as the natural home for raising offshore finance, he said

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British Prime Minister Theresa May is greeted by her Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, at the India-U.K Tech Summit in New Delhi, Nov. 7, 2016. VOA

London, Dec 14, 2016: Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi wants to ‘Make in India’. We say: ‘Make in India, finance in the UK’,” Alok Sharma, minster in charge of Asia, said in an address to the UK India Business Council on the ‘Future of the UK-India Relationship’ in London. The United Kingdom wants to make London as India’s “destination of choice” for raising offshore finance.

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“As well as seeking to expand its role as a manufacturer and innovator, India is also rightly addressing its future infrastructure and energy needs. Many of you know the staggering amounts of capital this will require – 2.8 trillion dollars needed by 2040 to invest in energy, according to the International Energy Agency and over 1 trillion dollars in other infrastructure,” he said.

According to PTI, the parliamentary under-secretary in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Monday said the Theresa May led government wants the City of London to become India’s “destination of choice” for raising international funds.

”We want Indian companies and public sector entities to see the City of London as the natural home for raising offshore finance – for quasi-sovereigns as well as corporates.”

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British-Indian minister Alok Sharma, sought to clear up what he described as “mis perceptions and misconceptions” around the issue of visas.

“First of all, there is no cap on the number of international students studying at recognised institutions in the UK. Secondly, we continue to welcome students from India – in the year to March 2016, we approved 89 per cent of Indian student visa applications,” he said.

According to PTI, India is the only country where applicants can obtain a same-day visa and Indian citizens enjoy greater access to application centres than anyone else. “We naturally want our visa regime to be as simple and efficient as possible. But we must also ensure that people return to their country of origin once their visa has expired.” To ensure that the visa regime does not hinder the commercial relationship, he said the British government wants India to be the first country to be offered the “Registered Traveller Scheme, giving business traveller’s expedited clearance at the UK border.”

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Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to India last month was “no coincidence” that it was her first overseas bilateral visit outside the European Union as PM. “It signaled the immense value we place on our existing partnership with India and the potential we see to enhance this unique relationship in the future,” he said.

The Conservative Party MP pointed to the UK as India’s largest major investor, is responsible for employing one in every 20 Indians and second largest international employment generator and India as the UK’s third-largest investor – responsible for over 110,000 jobs in the UK.

– Prepared by Ruchika Kumari of NewsGram. Twitter: @RuchiUjjaini