Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt said in a written response to a query in Lok Sabha.
The value of defence production crossed Rs 1 lakh crore-mark in 2022-23 - the first time ever in the country, the central government said on Friday.
Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, in a written response to a query in Lok Sabha, also said that the government in the past few years has encouraged indigenous design and manufacture of defence equipment by the local industry, including MSMEs and start-ups, promoting the ease-of-doing business in defence manufacture and technology in the country.
When asked whether the value of defence production crossed the figure of Rs 1 lakh crore for the first time ever in the financial year 2022-23, the minister said, "Yes, sir."
Mr Bhatt said the Union government promotes participation of MSMEs and start-ups for the development of defence technology under schemes such as Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), Technology Development Fund (TDF), and Make procedure under Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020.
The DAP 2020 provides special provisions to encourage MSMEs and start-ups, he said.
Moreover, Public Procurement Policy for MSEs Order, 2012, was implemented at the defence public sector units, or DPSUs, under which the price preference is given to MSME bidders under certain conditions.
DPSUs and services have uploaded more than 30,000 defence items on the 'Srijan portal for indigenisation' and offered them to industry, including MSMEs, to become partners in the indigenisation process, he said.
The iDEX was launched in April 2018 to foster innovation and technology development in defence and aerospace by engaging industries, including MSMEs and start-ups. iDEX provides funding and other support to carry out research and development activities for "futuristic" technologies, Mr Bhatt said.
In response to another query, he said, "recruitment of female candidates in National Defence Academy commenced from the year 2022 (NDA-148 course, July 2022 induction)." In the NDA-148 course, 19 cadets joined, and 19 each for NDA-149 and NDA-150 courses.
Same facilities are provided to women recruits at par with male recruits in NDA, the minister informed the house.
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