Hit hard by bribery charges in arms purchases, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is all set for major tweaking of its two-year-old procurement policy. The goal is to help plug loopholes that aid corruption and to shake off its tag of being the world’s largest importer of weapons.
The draft policy that would favour indigenous defence manufacturing and purchases -- a step seen by Defence Minister A K Antony as the anathema to corruption scandals -- would be taken up by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on Saturday.
The DAC is chaired by Antony and comprises Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh, Army Chief General Bikram Singh, Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi, Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne, DRDO chief V K Saraswat, Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, Defence Production Secretary R K Mathur, Director General Acquisition Satish B Agnihotri and others as members.
“There will be sweeping changes in the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) to make it more favourable to indigenous arms production and purchases. The Indian private sector defence companies will get a level playing field with that of the defence public sector undertakings to compete in tenders,” a Defence Ministry official said here on Friday.
A meeting of the DAC on April 2 had considered these changes, but could not complete the discussions on all amendments that were proposed and hence the Saturday meeting was scheduled.
Among other cautions, the MoD would take steps to prevent the Indian defence sector from misusing the provision of indigenous procurement by selling imported products to the armed forces.
The provisions would disallow Indian firms, from providing ‘Made in India’ tag to the products bought from foreign firms, as had been witnessed in the Tatra trucks supplies done by the BEML.
Moreover, global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) would be offered incentives to align with Indian private firms to begin defence manufacturing in India.