Towards Expeditious Procurement and Indigenisation
- Despite several initiatives undertaken by the Government, the stated goal of self reliance in defence production still remains elusive. One of the main reasons is that for too long India has been importing over 70 percent of its armament and hardly any worthwhile technology has been developed indigenously.
- Even when India is willing to spend heavily to ensure that the preparedness of its Armed Forces is commensurate to its strategic challenge, the progress in procurements has been sluggish and tardy. It is because defence acquisition is a complex decision- making process that needs to balance out the competing requirements of expeditious procurement, development of an indigenous defence sector and conformity to the highest standards of transparency, probity and public accountability.
- Defence Ministry has now undertaken a major initiative to rectify this anomaly through issuance of DPP 2013. This focuses or a twin pronged approach of ‘self reliance through indigenisation’ and ‘secondly setting up of a Defence Industrial Base within the country’.
- The DPP 2013 has evoked great expectation amongst all experts and the progress in its implementation is being watched with great interest.
- Some of the major issues, on which there was a general consensus, are as under:-
At Vivekananda International Foundation, a study group under Gen N C Vij (Retd.), Former Chief of Army Staff along with five more Senior Officers of different Services was set up to study this all too important subject. This effort culminated in a seminar on the subject being held on 19 July from 1030- 1600hrs. This was attended by over 120 participants; from the three Services, both serving and veterans, senior former government officials, representatives of FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM and also DRDO and DPSUS.
(a) Public and Private sectors must be brought on par to achieve genuine indigenisation. To attain this goal, they will have to be provided ‘level playing field’,
(b) Decision taken by the Govt to share ‘Technology Perspective and capability Road Map’ with the industry is a giant Stride which will bring in greater transparency. This will also help provide the private industry a perspective of what the Services are looking for and also help them draw up their business plans,
(c) It was also felt that the DRDO should focus primarily only on ‘Core Technology’, which no one from outside will be prepared to share with India,
(d) The Govt decision to entrust the Industry with up gradation and serviceability of the equipment, as partners with the Public Sector, was widely welcome,
(e) Creation of a Corpus of Rs 550 Crores for the micro, small and medium scale industries through SIDBI was also a welcome step, and
(f) It was also agreed that there was a need to formally train Services Officers and the MOD officials specifically for dealing with this intricate subject of procurement in our Management Institutions,
Finally, the general consensus was that the issuance of DPP 2013 was an important and positive step towards the important goal of self reliance. Its success will entirely depend upon the quality and expediency shown in its implementation. VIF will be shortly putting out a detailed report on this subject on its Website and also bring out a brochure on the subject.
July 19, 2013