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New govt policy on 'representatives' for arms purchase


NEW DELHI (PTI): Resolving to end perennial delays in arms procurement, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said government will unveil a "clear-cut" policy next month on engaging "representatives" for arms purchase and announce fresh norms to blacklist erring firms.

Promising a raft of steps to speed up military procurement, Parrikar said blacklisting of defence suppliers to root out corruption was not the only solution and indicated going for heavy penalties against erring firms.

"We should be in a position to have a very clear cut policy by January on representatives and on blacklisting. What does blacklisting mean. How far we can take it forward," Parrikar said.

India's military procurements have been dogged by long delays and allegations of graft and many defence experts had suggested legalising "agents" for speedy purchase of military hardware.

On having "representatives", he said they should have a very clear agreement with the Defence Ministry on their fees and there should be provisions of heavy penalty on violators.

The former Goa Chief Minister said having "representative" with a very clear method of payment and fees was a better solution to the defence forces than delaying the procurement procedures.

"There should be a very clear agreement deposited with the Defence Ministry in advance. Very heavy penalty (should be imposed) if you violate that," he said addressing Aaj Tak Agenda.

On issues like imposing penalty, he was quick to add that it was his "loud thinking" and that final decision will be taken later.

Underlining the need for speeding up defence procurement, the Minister said the government was working on ensuring transparency and said delay in decision-making allows entry of more agents.

"Jitna delay in decision making, utna agents jada khush ho jata hei (The agents are happier if there are more delays in decision-making)," he said.

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