SMEs demand share in booming defence industry

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New Delhi, Jul 25 (UNI) Even as the government is set to announce the Defence Procurement Policy, 2008, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) working in the aerospace and defence sectors have demanded due representation in ther booming defence industry.

Representatives of the SME today lamented that while they have played an important role in enhancing self-reliance in the defence sector by associating and supporting the efforts of DRDO and Defence PSUs, they are being edged out of the arena as rules permit only companies with bigger turnouts to remain in field.

Quoting the Defence Procurement Policy, 2006, they said only Raksha Utpadan Ratnas (very large enterprises), with hardly any background of Aerospace, will have the role. They lamented that even if the SMEs are included, the procedure for their inclusion is tedious due to the system of licensing.

The representatives aired their views in a national seminar on 'Empowering Small and Medium Sector Industry' here.

In India, SMEs contribute 40 per cent of industrial production and 35 per cent of export. They are the second largest employment generators, after agriculture.

In Aerospace and Defense sectors, SMEs have played significant role in enhancing self-reliance by associating and supporting the efforts of DRDO, Defense Public sector undertakings and the maintenance and engineering of the Armed forces.

They said SMEs today needed empowering by various means so that they are not eased out from Aerospace and Defence programmes for which they built the foundations in recent decades.

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