The centre has asked the industry to avail of the benefits of the recently launched Rs1,000-crore Capital Goods Scheme, which would help in acquiring or developing new technology.
Expressing concern over increasing imports of capital goods, union minister for heavy industries and public enterprises Anant Geete said the technology gap between the developed countries and developing countries is widening in the capital goods sector.
The minister was speaking at the inauguration of a workshop in Mumbai on ''Technology Development for Capital Goods: Constraints and the Way Forward,'' jointly organised by the Department of Heavy Industries and FICCI.
He said ''the technological capabilities of large number of players, especially in the SME sector, are limited in India and as a result India has become one of the largest importers of capital goods in the world. This has adversely affected the indigenous capital goods industry and we want to change this now'' he added.
Geete said that his ministry is committed to bringing 'Achche Din' for the capital goods sector and revealed that his department would set up a `Technology Adoption Fund' to promote research and development in the industrial sector.
The capital goods scheme launched under the `Make in India' initiative of the government of India, provides support to the industry to acquire technology, set-up technology development centres in collaboration with Institutes, and create common infrastructure for the capital goods industry.
A unique component of the scheme is technology acquisition fund where the government is providing support up to 25 per cent of the cost of technology subject to the limit of Rs10 crore.
The minister said the capital goods scheme would be particularly helpful for the industry in Maharashtra as a large number engineering and capital goods clusters covering textiles machinery, machine tools, plastic machinery and engineering products are located in the state.
Meanwhile, reports quoting Geete, said the centre is planning to make it mandatory for state-run companies to procure at least 35 per cent of their steel requirement from local manufacturers.
This is intended to protect local steel makers from the onslaught of cheap Chinese imports, the minister was quoted as saying in an interview to Business Line.
The ministry is considering making it compulsory for major government companies such as NTPC, ONGC, and BHEL to procure steel from domestic steel manufacturers, according to the report.
India imported 1.703 million tonnes of steel (alloy and non-alloy) from China between April and October 2014, which is a 133-per cent jump over the previous year's import of 0.731 million tonnes (April and October of 2013), according to the latest figures available with the government.