A report on the defence procurement process submitted on the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has noted that the Make in India initiative has “failed to demonstrate its true potential” due to procedural delays. “The defence sector, which was to spearhead the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister in 2014, and was envisaged to galvanise defence manufacturing sector, continues to languish at the altar of procedural delays and has failed to demonstrate its true potential,” said the report.
The report, dated November 29, 2017, was submitted by Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre “to give a feedback on functioning and also suggest further improvements in the functioning of Ministry in accordance with the directions of the Hon’ble Prime Minister”. He, however, restricted his “appraisal to Defence Preparedness through the Procurement process”.
Highlighting the steps taken in the past three years, the report stated that “the desired level of indigenisation and self-reliance in Defence Manufacturing, Research and Development and timely equipping of Services are some of the areas where the situation continues to be far from satisfactory”.
The report did not paint a flattering picture of the speed of defence procurement. “Of the 144 schemes construed during the last three FYs, only 8-10 per cent fructified within the stipulated time period. The average time taken was 52 months, which was more than twice the laid down duration of 18-25 months stipulated in the DPP,” the 11-page report noted.
“There is the evident lack of synergy between the stakeholders that is among the various departments of the MoD. The departments appear to be working in independent silos driven by policy/procedures.” It stated that “service-specific approach puts greater strain on the limited defence budget and as a result, we are unable to meet the critical capability requirements”, adding that “meticulous monitoring of delay of each scheme as specified in the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) has to be assigned as a specific responsibility to a suitable office within the Minister of Defence (MoD).”
Among the suggestions put forth in the report is that the “planning task for the three services needs to be further synergised. This task could be first handled by CISC which could be vetted with executive powers to evolve and integrated plan using latest scientific models and to accord inter-service prioritisation on budgetary projections”.
The Defence Ministry refused to comment on the subject.