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Procurement gets a push after Antony,General meet

The Defence Ministry announced 'in principle approval' to 3 policy issues related to procurement.

Written by Manu Pubby | New Delhi | Published: April 2, 2012 11:01:42 pm

Amid the uproar over the Army’s “depleting war-fighting capabilities” triggered by a letter by Army Chief General V K Singh,the Defence Ministry today announced “in principle approval” to three pending policy issues related to procurement even as it pulled up the Army,asking it to streamline acquisition processes and fix accountability for slippages.

Following a high-level meeting,where all the points raised by General Singh in his letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A K Antony were discussed,the Ministry cleared two procurement planning documents of the armed forces as well as announced a series of reforms in the ‘offsets policy’.

Another high-level meeting will be held next month to take stock of the progress made.

However,the sign of the frost that has set in between the ministry and the Army was evident in the official statement released after the meeting. While Antony “directed” the Army to “streamline its acquisition processes”,he “asked” officials of the ministry to “examine the possibility” of compressing time taken for acquisitions.

“During the meeting,the minister directed the Army to streamline its acquisition process in such a manner so that accountability can be fixed in case of any slippages,” the statement said,adding that the minister “favoured” delegation of more financial powers to the service headquarters for speedier acquisition of equipment and platforms.

In a rare move,the ministry — under the scanner for its slow progress on reforms — also revealed proceedings of the Defence Acquisition Council meeting held today and chaired by Antony. The ministry has cleared the 12th Defence Plan for 2012-2017 as well as the Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan for 2012-27,that spells out modernisation plans of the forces over the next 15 years on the basis of the geopolitical scenario and threat perception.

An unclassified version of this long-term plan will shortly be released to enable the Defence Research and Development Organisation,PSUs and the private defence industry to make research and development as well as expansion plans.

The industry had been demanding the reforms in the offsets policy — which mandate that at least 30 per cent of the cost of any purchase from a foreign vendor must be invested in India — for the past few years.

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