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New defence procurement policy likely soon, says defence ministry's finance official

New Delhi, Thu, 03 May 2012 ANI

New Delhi, May 3 (ANI): The government is planning to come up with a new Defence Procurement Policy (DPP), as the previous one, which is just about a year old, is not working as expected.

A senior defence ministry official revealed this at a recently held defence procurement workshop on "Streamlining the Indian Defence Procurement System" organised here by Observer Research Foundation in association with SP Guide Publications.

Amit Cowshish, Financial Advisor (Acquisition) and Additional Secretary, Department of Defence Finance, Ministry of Defence, said the DPP is under review and some of the issues of the industry might be addressed when the new DPP is announced.

"I hope some of the issues the industry has raised may be addressed in the new DPP," Cowshish said.

He suggested creation of a permanent professionals body to select the right vendors, brining in continuity, transparency and accountability.

Cowshish admitted that a paradigm shift in the policy of defence acquisitions was necessary.

The need for paradigm shift in the procurement policy was also highlighted by Mr. Ravindra Gupta, Chairman of the Task Force on Defence Modernisatioin and Self Reliance and a former Secretary, Defence Production.

Gupta said there was also a need to shift our focus from mere purchase to acquisition with technology transfer.

He, however, pointed out that most of our ordnance factories were not capable of absorbing new technology.

Gupta said the Task Force, headed by Mr. Naresh Chandra, would submit its report soon.

Naveen Jindal, Member of Parliament and Parliament's Consultative Committee on Defence, admitted that delays in defence procurement leading to unutilised defence outlays amounting to more than 8000 crore has really affected the modernization of Indian defence forces.

Jindal pointed out that during his trips to ordnance factories, he has found that the factories have very good factories but the designs they use are obsolete. Some of them are so obsolete that they were kept in museums in countries like the United Kingdom, he said.

Stressing on the need to buy latest technology and modernise weapons, Mr. Jindal said we still produced rifles like INSAS while most of the major countries use much modern technologies which are available in the market.

"There is a world of difference. It is like using an Ambassador (car) and a Mercedes. In the case of rifles, there is not much difference in the cost," he remarked.

A.K. Chopra, Financial Advisor (Defence Services), Ministry of Defence, said the quality requirements and estimation of costs were some of the major hurdles causing delay in approvals.

Manish Tewari, MP and Member of Parliament's Standing Committee on Defence, many former defence ministry officials, former and serving senior defence services officials, heads of private companies and many experts participated in the day-long ORF defence procurement workshop. (ANI)

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