FPJ EXCLUSIVE: After losing Vedanta, Shinde-Fadnavis govt trying to get Airbus-Tata to produce military aircraft in Maharashtra

The state’s hectic lobbying for the project comes when other BJP-led state governments in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are also engaged in attracting this mega investment in defence and aerospace sector.

Sanjay JogUpdated: Thursday, September 15, 2022, 12:43 AM IST
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Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis | PTI
  • The Ministry of Defence has already inked a nearly Rs 22,000 crore contract with Airbus Defence and Space of Spain.

  • Will procure 56 C-295 medium transport aircraft to replace Avro-748 planes of the Indian Air Force.

  • 16 aircraft will be delivered in a flyaway condition by the Airbus Defence and Space within 48 months of signing the contract.

  • 40 planes will be manufactured in India by a consortium of the Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) within 10 years of signing the contract.

After losing Vedanta Resources Limited’s $20 billion semiconductor project to Gujarat, the Shinde-Fadnavis government is revving up to attract the ambitious project by Airbus-Tata to produce military aircraft in Maharashtra.

The state’s hectic lobbying for the project comes when other BJP-led state governments in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are also engaged in attracting this mega investment in defence and aerospace sector.

A senior industry department official, after his meeting with state industry minister Uday Samant, told the Free Press Journal, “Maharashtra has existing defence hubs at Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad and Ahmednagar. There is an emerging aerospace hub at Nagpur with companies such as Boeing, solar industries and BrahMos Aerospace. The Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport (MIHAN) special economic zone at Nagpur can be an ideal project site with necessary ecosystem.”

He further said that the state government’s package scheme of incentives offers maximum flexibility compared to any other state based on three factors – size of the unit, location of the unit and the employment generated.

As per the official, ultra-mega and mega projects are eligible for up to 100 per cent of their fixed capital investment with a customised package of incentives approved by a high-powered committee. Anchor units in industrial areas are provided land at 75 per cent prevailing rate in the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) areas and 50 per cent prevailing rate in the MIDC areas in other locations up to 100 acres.

According to the Maharashtra Aerospace and Defence Policy 2018-22, the government will provide assistance to research and development activities with up to 50 per cent project cost (maximum Rs 10 crore) and an additional floor space index of 0.5 to research and development units. Up to Rs 15 crore will be provided for the common facility centre from the Rs 300 crore fund created by the MIDC.

The official noted that Maharashtra has a well-established ecosystem that caters to the requirements of the defence and aerospace sector. Moreover, as per the Industrial Policy (2019), it’s a thrust sector. The state also has a separate policy to attract manufacturing companies. “Keeping the strategic importance of the sector and the project, the Chief Minister and deputy chief minister will soon take it up with the Prime Minister,” he said. The officer said the government has sent a series of letters to the Prime Minister seeking his intervention.

Meanwhile, Devendra Fadnavis held talks with the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval for the proposed investment in Maharashtra, with positive indications that the state could bag the project.

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