Union Budget 2022: A Roadway to Atmanirbhar Defence Ecosystem
India’s journey towards Atmanirbhar Bharat started with the vision for India to become self-reliant and a global leader in primarily three sectors: national security, industrialisation and development. An import-dependent India was the second largest arms importer globally in the past decade. However, India’s dependence on arms-import has been reduced by 33 per cent in the last 5 years because of diverse measures taken to cut down India’s dependence on imported defence hardware under the umbrella of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
The latest import data is a clear indicator that the country’s drive towards Atmanirbharta is showing results. The Union Budget 2022-23 provides substantial proof that the Government is prioritizing the modernisation of India's defence industry, pushing for indigenous weapons design and production. In support, the government has allocated 68 per cent of the total capital procurement in the defence sector for the domestic industry. 25 per cent of the R&D budget for defence has also been earmarked for domestic research. The R&D budget will also create impetus for startups, private businesses and academia to collaborate and develop world-class technology with leading public sector entities.
The Union budget 2022-23 provides a boost to DRDO’s Technology Development Fund Scheme whose objective is in line with the overall vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. The scheme already promotes the participation of domestic private industries, especially MSMEs and start-ups by providing each selected industry a funding up to Rs. 10 Crore for the development of defence technologies. With a large enhancement over a period of nine years in the Defence budget, schemes like Technology Development Fund Scheme lie at the center stage for Indigenisation and modernisation of defence technologies where industries, start-ups and academia provide much needed assistance for the successful accomplishment of mission Atmanirbharta.
Budget 2022-23 indeed encourages Indian industries and public entities to develop innovative and futuristic defence technologies and Technology Development Fund Scheme plays a crucial role in accomplishing this goal along with catering to India’s security needs. The overall defence budget of ₹5.25 lakh crore, 13.31 percent of the total budget will give a fillip to 'Make in India', boost demand and build capacities for a stronger, prosperous, and confident India. The framework is in place, it is now up to us to make the best of this opportunity.