Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath has flagged the slow pace of land acquisition for the flagship UP Defence Corridor project, which is estimated to attract investments of more than Rs 20,000 crore.
Adityanath has directed officials to take urgent steps for ensuring timely and adequate availability of land bank for the Corridor. Chairing a review meeting here on Wednesday, the CM also proposed hosting defence manufacturing summits at all the 6 nodes of the Corridor viz. Aligarh, Agra, Jhansi, Kanpur, Lucknow and Chitrakoot.
Meanwhile, UP Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) CEO Awanish Kumar Awasthi said that so far 1,000 hectares land bank had been created for the Corridor, while more such proposals were in the pipeline. He assured the CM that the progress of the Corridor would not get impeded owing to land bank.
The CM underlined the importance of resolving grievances of investors interested in the Corridor project. In the first phase, the state government is eyeing an investment of Rs 500 crore in the Defence Corridor.
Adityanath also directed officials to amend UP Defence and Aerospace Manufacturing and Employment Policy 2018 for making it more development oriented and attractive for the private sector.
The government had been planning to tweak the existing policy after studying similar policies of other states, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. During interactions with private companies looking to invest in the state's defence manufacturing sector, the government garnered feedback, which indicated that the existing policy needed to be tweaked.
The proposed amendments are likely to be related to the subsidy component on land cost, interest payment on land, state goods and services tax (SGST), electricity duty holiday etc.
“There are some central policies related to the defence sector, which are being finalised. We are awaiting these policies, so that we take the process forward in the state as well,” UP industrial development minister Satish Mahana had earlier told Business Standard.
So far, UP has signed memorandums of understanding (MoU) worth Rs 4,000 crore with public and private sector companies for the Corridor and 5,000 hectares has been identified for acquisition. Adityanath has even proposed tie-ups with Russian companies for the Corridor.
On February 15, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation of UP Defence Corridor in Jhansi district. He had first announced the Corridor at the inauguration ceremony of UP Investors Summit in Lucknow on February 21, 2018. The Corridor is expected to create about 2,50,000 new job opportunities.
India is the world’s largest military hardware importer and among top military spenders. For meeting modernisation needs of the armed forces, India will acquire equipment worth $250 billion by 2027, however, the current delivery capacity of the domestic defence sector is merely worth $75-80 billion annually, indicating a huge potential for indigenous industry.