The Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor is slowly beginning to take shape with the State reportedly identifying suitable land parcels near five nodes - Chennai, Coimbatore, Hosur, Salem and Tiruchy - which form the ‘Defence Quadrilateral’.
Reliable sources confirmed to Express that about 1,500 acres had been identified between Hosur and Nallampalli in Dharmapuri. Only on Saturday last, an MoU was signed between DRDO and the TN Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) in front of CM Edappadi K Palaniswami. The IIT-Madras was also roped in as knowledge partner.
In an exclusive interview, DRDO chairman G Satheesh Reddy told Express that Tamil Nadu was taking proactive steps in pushing the defence corridor project forward.
“TN being a manufacturing hub would be key for India’s dream of achieving self-reliance in defence procurement. Several companies in Coimbatore, Tiruchy and Hosur are already working with us. This corridor project will create an ecosystem where industries will be encouraged to take up more defence projects. We are planning an R&D centre in the TN defence corridor, where industries will be hand-held and groomed by our scientists,” Reddy said and added that in July, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the progress of the corridor projects, both in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Till date, six consultation meetings of stakeholders were held across various nodes of Tamil Nadu. At the Tiruchy meet held on January 20, an investment of over `3,100 crore was announced by the Ordance Factory Board /Departmental Public Sector Undertakings and private industries for the TN Defence Corridor. Further, government has also appointed a consultant for the preparation of a detailed project report for the defence corridor.
Reddy said the DRDO had, of late, opened up different avenues for industries. “We have opened up our 1,500 patent portfolios, promulgated the new Transfer of Technology (ToT) policy and launched Technology Development Fund (TDF). We have signed more than 900 ToT agreements with industries. Over 1,800 industries have joined hands with the DRDO in delivery of various components, subsystems and technologies.”
Under new ToT policy, there is no fee or royalty for industry partners, who join as Development cum Production Partners and Development Partners. Even for others, only five per cent ToT fee will be charged. While some industries have already achieved the capability and the capacity to become the lead system integrator in certain areas, some have become suppliers to global supply chain and have started exports of the DRDO-developed system to friendly countries. “Many friendly countries have shown an interest in the possibility of acquiring the DRDO-developed systems,” said Mayank Dwivedi, Director, Directorate of Industry Interface and Technology Management, DRDO.
“This is the apt time when an Indian industry can take advantage of the latest policies of the government and join hands with the DRDO to deliver defence systems and technologies to the Indian defence forces,” he said.