Like many other industries, the lockdown has hit the defence manufacturing sector hard despite essential works in the sector exempted from restrictions. “It will have a 10-15 per cent impact in terms of delays in delivering products or services,” said a source in a defence public sector undertaking.
An assessment of the impact and strategies to deal with it will be discussed only after the lockdown is completely lifted, sources added.
In defence PSUs, works on most projects were stopped after the lockdown was imposed and they shifted their focus to keeping essential operations and helping the administration in fighting COVID-19.
Small private manufacturers are the worst hit. “Nearly 90 percent of work is stopped,” said Prasad M J, co-founder of Bengaluru-based Accutech Enterprises that supplies components to HAL and many other Indian and foreign defence firms.
The Karnataka Government had earlier issued a circular allowing defence and aerospace firms to resume works, but those in the industry claimed there was no clarity and it was not possible for most of them to restart work due to the lockdown, the sources said.
Companies like Accutech had stopped their works a day before the nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24 as there was a lot of uncertainty and most of their employees went to their native places after state government imposed lockdown in some places, including Bengaluru.