The Centre has put on the fast track India’s ambitious plan to design and develop a 90‐seater civilian aircraft a day after it received the nod of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The Rs 7,500‐crore project aims at designing and manufacturing a 70‐100 seater civilian aircraft with imported engines. A special purpose vehicle involving government agencies and private sector and a project steering committee will be created to take it forward. A preliminary design of the national civil aircraft was made by a high‐level expert group headed by former Indian Space Research Organisation chairman Dr G Madhavan Nair. The project marks military aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s entry into civil aircraft market. The indigenous civil aircraft and the defence ministry’s Rs 12,000‐crore plan to buy 56 tactical aircraft to replace Indian Air Force’s Avro fleet is viewed as the two initiatives to open up the aviation market for Indian companies. The defence ministry’s global tender has a mandatory requirement of the involvement of an Indian firm. Since the civil aircraft programme involved multiple agencies, department of defence production, HAL, National Aerospace Laboratories of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, union ministry of civil aviation and the private sector, many business and financial rules are not clear.
Source: Deccan Herald
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