A high-powered committee will carry out a feasibility study for the project to be set up as a public-private partnership that is expected to evolve eventually into a new entity for development of a national civil transport aircraft and provide a basis for the civil aircraft industry in the country
India has initiated steps to build its first indigenous civilian transport aircraft under a public-private partnership project that will be undertaken in a national mission mode, reports PTI.
The government has set up a 15-member high-power committee (HPC) on National Civil Aircraft Development with former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair as its chairman for management and development of the key project.
The first meeting of the core team of the committee comprising technologists is scheduled to be held tomorrow at the National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL) in Bengaluru to chart out a broad vision for the project, officials said.
The HPC will carry out a feasibility study for the project to be set up as a public-private partnership that is expected to evolve eventually into a new entity for development of a national civil transport aircraft and provide a basis for civil aircraft industry in the country.
“We are looking at developing a 90-100 seat civilian aircraft utilising nationally available talent and industry resources,” a senior official involved with the project told PTI.
This development comes weeks after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that there was no technical flaw in the Saras aircraft. The Prototype-II of the Saras aircraft, developed by CSIR’s NAL, had crashed during a test flight on 6th March last year killing the three-member crew.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-NAL will assist the HPC in implementation of the project.
The terms of reference of the HPC include evolving a strategy for development of a civil aircraft indigenously; provide details on aircraft definition and performance, technologies and system, manufacturing plan, investments required, risk analysis and holding discussions with global original equipment manufacturers for partnership avenues.
The HPC has also been tasked to set up a core design group with seeding from CSIR-NAL which could be subsequently upgraded to a full-fledged design centre.
The design centre will be set up by drawing manpower from CSIR-NAL, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Aeronautic Development Authority, Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Indian Space Research Organisation.
Earlier, NAL had prepared a preliminary report on the need for a regional transport aircraft for the Indian market which is pegged at 400 planes over the next 20 years.
The aircraft is aimed at enhancing connectivity within the country, thereby helping in the economic development of far-flung regions.
The Planning Commission had made an allocation of Rs300 crore for the civilian aircraft project under the 11th Plan.
In October 2008, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had told NAL to defer plans to make a 70-seater passenger plane on account of delayed progress on its 15-seater Saras aircraft.
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In the last three years, IFFCO has invested $682 million in a Jordanian JV while Coromandel International and GSFC and two local companies have together formed a JV in Tunisia
Several Indian fertiliser companies are in talks with foreign firms to set up production units jointly, the government today said.
"Various Indian fertiliser entities are in dialogue with the fertiliser entities abroad for establishing joint ventures (JVs) for production of fertilisers/raw materials," minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers Srikant Kumar Jena said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, reports PTI.
He, however, did not disclose the names of the companies that are in talks at present.
In the last three years, the minister said that domestic firms such as the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) and Coromandel International Limited (CIL) have signed joint ventures abroad for production of fertilisers.
IFFCO has invested $682 million in a JV with Jordan Phosphate Mining Company in December 2007 for production of phosphoric acid in Jordan. The plant has a capacity of 0.45 million tonnes (MT) per annum and production is likely to commence in 2013, Jena said.
Besides investments in Jordan, IFFCO has also bought 1% of the total equity of Glow Max Agri Corp Canada (GMAC) for setting up a Muriate of Potash (MoP) production facility in Peru. The production is likely to start in 2013.
Similarly, Coromandel International Limited (CIL) together with Gujarat State Fertilisers & Chemicals (GSFC), have formed a JV company— Tunisian Indian Fertilisers S A (TIFERT), for production of phosphoric acid with Groupe Chimique Tunisian (GCT) and Campagnie Des Phosphate De Gafsa (CPG).
The plant in Tunisia will start production in the first quarter of 2011. The estimated cost of the project is $500 million, the minister added.