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'Biz opportunity worth $250 bn in defence sector in 7-8 yrs'

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NEW DELHI (PTI): The private sector should explore opportunities in defence manufacturing in India as the sector is expected to provide business worth US$ 250 billion in the next seven to eight years, a top government official said Monday.

"How quickly we can use our defence manufacturing sector as that is an early flower to be plucked by Indians. That is a huge area for growth in the future.

"If India is going to import US$ 140 billion in the next seven years, if home land security is going to need a business of another US$ 110 billion, so US$ 250 billion worth business in the next seven-eight years. How quickly we can transform ourselves into a defence manufacturing country is a key challenge to India," DIPP Secretary Amitabh Kant said.

He was speaking at an Assocham function in New Delhi.

The government has hiked FDI cap in defence manufacturing sector from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.

"We have opened up defence, railways, insurance and medical devices... That is really opening up of the Indian economy. Other than multi-brand retail, India is the most open economy of the world today," he added.

He also said that state government should take lead in improving ease of doing business in the country.

The DIPP is in the process of giving ratings to states on the basis of ease of doing business. According to the World Bank report, India ranked at 142nd out of 189 countries in terms of ease of doing business.

Kant said DIPP would rate the states on 98 parameters and by June or July "we are putting a professional agency to evaluate all the states (on these parameters) and rank best and worst performing states."

He said that by May 31, the states have to undertake steps to improve their rankings.

States like Maharashtra, the secretary said, have already started taking steps in that direction.

"States must become key champions. The real action is in states," Kant said.

He added that to boost economic growth, exports and manufacturing have to grow at higher rates.

"Exports need to grow at 22-23 per cent per year.

Therefore, India needs to become the easiest place to do business in the world," Kant said.

Further, the Secretary said that there is an urgent need to do away with the complex rules and act on issues such as land acquisition.

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