Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that more than two-thirds ex-Servicemen have already been paid the OROP arrears by the government and the rest will be paid by Diwali. He also announced that the new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) has been approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), and it will be effective from April 2. The Defence Procurement Manual and the Ordnance Factory Purchase manual are in the process of being revised.
“Payments have now reached the accounts of 13 lakh pensioners amounting to about Rs 2300 crore. This amount has been released through Defence Pension Disbursing Offices (DPDOs), the State Bank of India (SBI) and the Punjab National Bank (PNB). We are monitoring the situation on daily basis and barring a few thousand, all 20 lakh ex-servicemen pensioners will get their OROP arrears by Holi,” said Parrikar.
After a prolonged agitation by ex-servicemen, the government had issued orders for grant of OROP on 07 November last year. It was followed by the issuing of OROP tables by the government last month, and the payment of arrears started earlier this month.
According to Parrikar, the new blacklisting policy for defence suppliers, which has now been renamed “provision for penal action”will be issued next month, along with a new policy for registration of agents by defence companies. Under the new blacklisting policy, the existing blacklisted companies will also be eligible for relaxation by approaching a mechanism created by the defence ministry.
Briefing reporters after the meeting of the DAC, Parrikar announced that except Chapter 6, which deals with strategic partnership with private Indian defence suppliers, the rest of the seven chapters of the DPP have been finalised. He said that these chapters will be loaded on the defence ministry website by March 28, while the full DPP, with all its annexures and appendices will be issued by mid-April.
“The chapter on Strategic Partnership is not going to be released and approved because it is an extensive exercise and will need the approval of the finance ministry, and perhaps even the Cabinet Committee on Security,” explained Parrikar.
The defence minister was, however, confident of finalizing the Strategic Partnership model by the end of the current year. The Strategic Partnership model will give a chosen Indian private defence manufacturer to get exclusive rights to make that defence equipment – tanks, ships, submarines, helicopters for eg – for a period of 20 years.
The criterion for selection of strategic partners have been finalised by an expert committee headed by former DRDO chief, VK Aatre, which submitted its report to the defence ministry earlier this year.