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DAC clears new Defence Procurement Procedure

NEW DELHI (PTI): After a delay of several months, the new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), focusing on India-made products and fast-tracked acquisition process, was on Monday cleared by the top committee of the Defence Ministry.

However, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, did not finalise the key chapter on strategic partnership, which the Minister said will be done in another couple of months.

Parrikar said the new blacklisting policy will also be issued separately next month and made it clear that there will be "no relaxation" for those who have already been blacklisted and "bribe givers" will be punished.

However, the Minister said that existing blacklisted firms will be allowed to appeal before a vigilance committee of the Defence Ministry for delisting under the new policy.

"The DAC has given the final nod to the new DPP. We expect that the new DPP will be loaded on to our website on March 28. It will be effective from April 2," Parrikar told reporters in New Delhi.

The Minister underlined that procedure is only a small proportion of what has to be done. "Mindset of people has to change. There is too much of unnecessary secrecy in defence procurement," he said.

Many aspects of the DPP were already cleared by the DAC in February. This included a new category to acquire weapons - IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured).

The DAC has said that IDDM will be the first preferred category of preference under new DPP, which will guide how India buys its arms and equipment for its armed forces.

The new DPP also allows the DAC to take a "fast-track" route to acquire weapons, something which was limited to only the armed forces till now.

"There is an impression that fast track can only be done in the event of a war but this is not the case," Parrikar said.

Noting that all earlier DPPs were procedure driven, Parrikar said the new document will come with a preamble that will be a fall back option in case of any problem, like single vendor situation among others.

In a bid to cut down on the time taken for acquisition process, the new DPP mandates that all AONs (Acceptance of Necessity) of a particular platform will be valid only for only six months as against the 12 months deadline now.

Also, no AON will be notified until it is accompanied by a finalised RFP (Request for Proposal or tender). This means that the time taken for an RFP is cut down drastically.

Parrikar also said a new Defence Procurement Manual and a separate manual for Ordinance Factory Boards will also be issued in the coming months.

DPM will most likely be notified in June after OFB manual is updated, Parrikar said.

Asked about the strategic partnership model, the Minister said once it comes into force, it will speed up projects.

He said the focus will first be on ammunition, followed by P75I submarine project and possibly a chopper and a fighter contract.

"Aim is to start 1-2 projects under the strategic partnership model by the end of this year," he said.

Talking about small scale and medium industries, the Minister said the new DPP helps them a lot.

He said credit must be given to small scale industries for surviving despite "stiffling and chocking" atmosphere that has existed.

Meanwhile, asked about the pending Rafale fighter deal, he said his objective was to save money for the country and he is working on it.


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