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'Govt mulls separate setup for defence acquisition'

A representational photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): In what would be a key move if implemented, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said the government is "actively considering" a separate set up for defence acquisition.

Many countries like France have exclusive organisations which deal with defence acquisition. This was also one of the recommendations of the Dhirendra Singh Committee, that was set up by the Defence Ministry to suggest changes to the Defence Procurement Procedure.

"A separate set up for defence acquisition, at capital level as well as revenue level and OFB needs to be created. We are considering that," Parrikar said at the launch of the Defence Innovators and Industry Association (DIIA).

He said it will take another six months for the concept to firm up.

"This concept is under active consideration and definitely during the current calender year, this set up should be there," Parrikar said replying to questions.

He said there should be continuity of information, knowledge and experience.

The minister said steps will be taken to ensure that there is career progression of officials and also that complacency does not creep in, besides any possible wrong doings.

Told by a retired Admiral that in the navy there are some Admirals and senior officers who have been associated with the Arihant submarine project right from being a Lieutenant, Parrikar said, "I will look into it."

The Dhirendra Singh Committee has proposed "Dedicated Procurement Organisation Outside The Government Of India Ministry Structure" in a report submitted last year.

It had said that the procurement executive as now established is a result of the recommendations of the Group of Ministers post Kargil, and is one of the institutions created as part of the reorganisation of the higher defence management structures.

"It has now functioned for more than a decade. Like any organisation it has its strength and weaknesses. It is our recommendation that the time is ripe for it to undergo a second set of reforms.

"Its main drawback is that it essentially performs line functions whilst being embedded in a larger structure, which is designed to perform staff functions," the report had said.

Meanwhile, talking about the proposed strategic partnership scheme, under which the Defence Ministry will tie up with one government and one private company for building strategic assets like submarines, Parrikar said the partner will be obligated to get at least 20 per cent material or technology from small and medium enterprises.

He also said the ministry is considering proposals to give a push at least 200-300 start ups in the defence sector.


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