Dhirendra Singh Committee

‘Make in India’ in Defence Sector: An Overview of the Dhirendra Singh Committee Report


  • evolve a policy framework for facilitating ‘Make in India’ within the purview of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) and
  • streamline the procurement process


  • Strategic partnership model :  After taking into account the unique nature of defence equipment and the configuration of the global defence industry, the Committee has arrived at three models for the Indian set up – Strategic Partnership, Developmental Partnership and Competitive Partnership. According to the Committee, the choice of the model should be based on “strategic needs, quality criticality and cost competitiveness.”

 like the Raksha Udyog Ratan concept (Kelkar Committee) , the strategic partnership model also visualises selective identification of a few big private players and nurturing them through preferential treatment, which would entail co-opting them for ‘Buy and Make’ and Government-to-Government procurement programmes.

Identified segments for Partnership like aircraft, armoured vehicle etc.

Suggested measures to prevent building of monopolies by allowing selected number (2 -3) RUR in each segment  the idea of strategic partnership is as relevant as the earlier RUR concept since India cannot afford to have a very large and frequently changing number of players in every segment of major defence platforms. Even in the United States, the biggest defence market in the world, the production of major platforms and weapon systems is consolidated among a few major companies. Having said this, the major challenge for the government now is to select the SP in each segment. Given the earlier experience in the selection of RURs, it would be worth watching how the government proceeds on the SP concept.

  • Industry Friendly Procurement System : A major focus of the Expert Committee is on streamlining the acquisition process and structure so as to create more opportunities for the local industry.

The Committee argues that for ‘Make in India’ to succeed, the procurement system must recognise the unique and strategic nature of defence equipment, which is characterised by high-technology content, stringent quality standard, limited vendor base, low production rate, rapid obsolescence and restricted mobility across borders. In such a scenario, for the local industry to prosper, there is a need to take it into confidence in every possible procurement step, beginning with the planning process.

Highlighting the current weakness whereby the local industry does not have information about the type and nature of the long term equipment requirement of the armed forces, the Committee has suggested that the relevant information as contained in various plans and other documents be shared with the industry with the sole objective of enabling the latter to make a concrete decision on investment or technology partnership

Committee has suggested the revision of the current Technology Perspective Capability Roadmap (TPCR) so as to reflect the type and nature of the equipment required by the armed forces in the next 15 years. At the same time, the Committee has also suggested that schemes amenable to ‘Make’ projects be shared with the industry along with the details of other schemes as contained in the 5-year Services Capital Acquisition Plan (SCAP).

Since ‘Make’ projects involve a long-gestation period, the decision on such projects must precede that of other categories by at least one plan period (five year) or more. Such pre-positioning of ‘Make’ projects would give much needed leeway to the industry and the services to iron out any issue that may arise at the developmental stage without significantly disturbing the planned induction schedule.

The eligibility criteria for soliciting expression of interest (EoI) from the industry should be liberal to include not only the big players but also all the ‘innovative and agile industry’ including from the Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector. Moreover, the industry executing the ‘Make’ project should be given tax incentives by way of allowing their developmental cost (of 20 per cent) as being qualified as R&D expenditure.

The Committee is also of the firm opinion that for the local industry to grow, the current approach of the procurement system towards single vendor situations needs a relook.

  • Emphasis on Greater Indigenisation

The Experts Committee is of view that ‘Make in India’ should not “become assemble in India with no IPR [intellectual property rights] and design control and thereby perpetuating our dependence on the foreign suppliers.”

To guard against such a situation, the experts group has emphasised on progressively increasing the indigenisation content, to be ensured not only through DPP-driven procurement but also by entities like DRDO, DPSUs and OFs – the three traditional players in the defence industry set up.

Increase local content threshold in ‘Buy (Indian), ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ and ‘Make (Indian)’

Committee has given the flexibility to the procurement authorities to lower the local content requirement. At the same time, in systems in which local capability is relatively developed, authorities would have the option of enhancing the indigenisation requirement.

  • Human Resource Development
  • Conducive Financial Framework

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