Amit Cowshish is a former Financial Advisor (Acquisition), Ministry of Defence and presently a Distinguished Fellow with the Indian Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Click here for Detailed Profile
The effort to set right the operating environment has to start with creating a mechanism to review the existing devolution of power comprehensively based on clearly defined principles and not in an ad hoc manner.
Replacement of the Avro is an approved requirement. Scrapping the on-going process could delay acquisition of the transport aircraft by at least a year or two as it would inevitably involve revisiting the qualitative requirements (QRs) before restarting the tendering process.
It is difficult to visualise how the Russian offer to make LUH in India could be actualised unless the government invokes ‘strategic considerations’ for making it in India or signs an inter-governmental agreement for that purpose.
The examination of the detailed demands for grant (DDGs) of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) by the Standing Committee on Defence of the 14th Lok Sabha (2004–05 to 2008–09) and recommendations made by the committee had little impact on the country’s defence budget. While the examination was generally perfunctory, the recommendations were either too general or too impractical to be implemented by MoD. This is the second of two articles that examines how the Standing Committee on Defence of the 15th Lok Sabha (2009–10 to 2013–14) followed the same pattern.
In the run-up to the voting on the budget, detailed demands for grant(DDGs) presented by various ministries to the Parliament are examinedby the departmentally-related standing committees. As Parliamentcannot possibly examine more than 100 DDGs presented to it everyyear, these committees are required to examine them in detail and reportback to the Parliament. One such committee is the Standing Committeeon Defence.
There now seems to be greater recognition of India’s concerns on transfer of technology and not just about co-production but also co-development of next generation weapons. The larger objective for India, however, must be to reduce its dependence on import of foreign equipment and modernize its armed forces in the quickest possible timeframe.
The Guidelines of 2012 have been under review for some time. While a drastic shift in the policy is unlikely, some changes in the policy, clarity about some of the existing provisions and simplification of the procedure seem necessary to make the policy work better.
There are speculations whether the present budget is sufficient to meet expenditure on big ticket items but one has to bear in mind that it is only the advance payment – generally 15% of the contract value – that becomes payable on signing of a new contract. Even if new contracts are signed for say INR 50,000 crore, MoD will require just about INR 7,500 crore for those schemes.