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Editorial (July-Aug 2015)

In an attempt to systematize defence procurement, the MoD promulgated a Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) in 2002, without enunciating the policy on which it was predicated. The disjointed revision efforts in the past, have been the bane of the procurement regimen in India. Recently, MoD constituted a committee to review of current Defence Procurement Procedures and it has been holding widespread consultations with various stakeholders for past over a month. The review was due over a year back and rationally there are concern raised over the delayed/timing of constitution of a committee and its representation by full forum of retired Govt functionaries, without any experts from Industry, Finance, Taxation etc. like Kelkar committee. There may not be nothing new in so called comprehensive consultations, as most of the issues are known to MoD. We have enough of committee recommendations gathering dust. Need of the hour is to revisit those recommendations and implement them. The recommendations from the committee will again be analysed by MoD, hopefully in correct perspective. Successive Govts have made committees as a tool to defer the decisions. Anyway time will only tell, will this one make the difference?

Our challenge is to create a conducive eco-system within MoD, to strengthen the indigenous capabilities in design, development and manufacture. There is need to be objective in formulating design QRs or wish list otherwise changing the goal posts could end up in the trash can as in recent case of Assault Rifles for Army. While the report and Govt acceptance is eagerly awaited, nothing will work unless decision-making at the bureaucratic level is efficient and accountable. The long pendency of number of projects for non issuance of RFP, despite clearance by DAC is the case to the point.

The envisaged changes in DPP needs to reflect the political thrust towards enhancing national capacity building, self-reliance and export promotion through indigenously designed and developed sources. In the absence of Political Will, a sound defence industrial base still seems to be a distant reality. DPP provisions need to synchronize procurement and acquisition to be in tune with technology and cost effectiveness. It is only through simplification and micro management of disparate activities and unambiguous enunciation of the procedure that problems of retraction and delay can be surmounted. MoD needs to focus on how to make it speedy & conclusive.

Maj Gen Dr. Bhupinder Yadav (Retd.)

Maj Gen Dr. Bhupinder Yadav (Retd.)

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