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Defence policy to boost indigenous manufacturing capacity

New Delhi: The Indian government on Tuesday said it was formulating a Defence Production Policy to enhance indigenous capabilities in manufacturing systems and equipment for armed forces, reports PTI.

"Government is in the process of formulating a Defence Production Policy to enhance indigenous capabilities to manufacture our requirement for defence equipment," Defence Minister AK Antony said in reply to a Lok Sabha query.
He said under the policy, both private and public sector would be involved to manufacture indigenous defence equipment.

The minister said that 144 Industrial Licenses and Letter of Intents have been issued to Indian companies for the manufacture of various defence equipment.
The Defence minister said the modernisation programme of the Ordnance Factory board and the defence public sector undertakings was also being undertaken to improve their performance and efficiency.

On a query on P Rama Rao committee recommendations to review DRDO's functioning, the minister said it has recommended selection of an Industry partner (private or public) through a transparent process and its early involvement in development of products to avoid delays and maintaining secrecy.

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Telecom companies owe government Rs452 crore as spectrum fee

New Delhi: Leading telecom company Bharti Airtel owes the Indian government Rs152.77 crore, the highest outstanding among all operators, towards spectrum charges and licence fees, the Parliament was informed on Tuesday, reports PTI.

The total outstanding amount, including interest, against GSM operators as on 31 March 2010, is Rs451.75 crore, out of which Bharti Airtel has the highest dues, Minister of State for Telecom and IT Sachin Pilot said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

Bharti Airtel has an outstanding of Rs135.11 crore towards spectrum charges and Rs17.66 crore towards licence fees.

To a query on whether the government proposes to penalise defaulting GSM operators who have not paid their dues, Mr Pilot said, "Penalty is imposed as per the licence agreement."

Followed by Bharti Airtel, Vodafone has the second highest outstanding of Rs71.77 crore (towards spectrum charges only) among the private GSM players. There is no outstanding against Vodafone in terms of licence fees.

Anil Ambani group firms Reliance Communication and Reliance Telecom have a combined outstanding of Rs53.07 crore, mainly towards licence fees, as on 31 March 2010.

Among the state-owned telecom firms, BSNL has dues of Rs84.44 crore towards licence fees, while MTNL has an outstanding of Rs17.22 crore.
BPL Cellular and BPL Mobile Communication Ltd have outstanding dues of Rs39.83 crore, Mr Pilot said in the Lok Sabha.

Birlas-owned Idea Cellular has an outstanding of Rs7.07 crore towards non-payment of spectrum charges.

Among other GSM players, Aircel, Etisalat DB and Unitech have marginal outstandings of less than Rs1 crore, either on account of non-payment of spectrum charges or licence fees, as of 31st March this year.

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