The recently-launched Defence Industrial Corridor running through Uttar Pradesh has garnered about ₹3,000 crore worth of projects in pledges and commitments from private investors, with the state government looking at the upcoming national budget for tax breaks and incentives to further boost investor interest.
The industrial corridor was one among two announced in the 2018-19 national budget and is planned around six nodes or centres of Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi, Agra Aligarh, Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh. The second industrial corridor runs through Tamil Nadu.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the UP corridor in 2019 and the defence ministry organized the biennial DefExpo in Lucknow last year to attract investments and showcase the state to foreign investors. The aim of the project is to spur job creation as well as to encourage foreign and domestic companies to support defence manufacturing in India.
According to officials in New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, ₹1,500 crore of investment has been pledged for the Aligarh node with companies allotted almost all of the 76 hectares of land procured for the project.
According to the UP government’s website, 32 preliminary agreements have been signed so far between private firms and the state government. The projects being considered include those for the manufacture of components, aircraft engines, airframes, the design and development of drones, swarms and electronic warfare systems besides communication equipment and ammunition.
The state government has been working on land acquisition for the other centres with 94% of the land in Jhansi, 81% in Kanpur and 96% in Chitrakoot having either being bought or requisitioned for the corridor, Awanish Awasthi, Uttar Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary in charge of the corridor project said by phone from Lucknow.
Some of the big names that have expressed interest in investing in the UP Corridor include the Tata group and Dassault Aviation of France, Awasthi said. In the Lucknow area, defence public sector units like Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Ltd have shown interest.
“We hope that the budget (to be unveiled on 1 February) will have more incentives for companies” to invest in the northern corridor, he said.