India Plans Autonomous Defense Procurement Agency

  • Our Bureau
  • 09:08 AM, March 14, 2017
  • 3174
India Plans Autonomous Defense Procurement Agency
India's former defense minister, Manohar Parrikar

Based on the recommendation of a committee report submitted in February this year, the Indian ministry of defense is likely to set up an independent defense procurement organization.

In order to study the setting up of a defence procurement organization, the Ministry of Defence in April 2016 constituted a Committee under the chairmanship of Pritam Singh, Management Expert. 

The Committee submitted its Report in February 2017. The Committee has recommended the creation of a central, autonomous, empowered professional organization to build up indigenous defence capability as a strategic imperative for long term self-reliance, former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in a written reply in the parliament last Tuesday. 

The committee recommended measures to overcome the unending problem of delays in defence procurement, unspent budgets, allegations of corruption and botched deals.

Being freed itself from the Ministry of Defence, the committee will not be constrained by government rules, the member said. This professionalization of the process will bring down the time taken to complete defense acquisitions.

“We have also recommended adequate internal checks and balances to reduce corruption,” a member of the expert committee had said in February this year.

The nine-member expert committee was formed by the Ministry in May last year with the mandate for ‘Restructuring of the Acquisition wing to make it more effective’.

In its recommendations, the committee has also proposed that a new organisation, tentatively called the Defence Capital Acquisition Authority, will be responsible for the entire process of acquisition after the operational requirements have been identified by the defence services.

The new organization will be operating independently of the defense Ministry. Further, it will be manned by people with specific qualifications, including experts from outside the government who are fit to serve in these positions.

However, there will be a seamless integration at the highest level between the Ministry of Defense and this organisation where the “decision-making will be collective and collegiate.

“This organisation will convert all acquisition schemes and program into projects, which will be the responsibility of a project management team from the start to finish.

Project that belong to different services, say UAVs for the army and the air force, will be clubbed together as one single project,” a member of the expert committee said.

Based on features taken from similar organisations in France, the UK, Australia and South Korea, this new organisation will combine several functions currently undertaken by different agencies: service headquarters are responsible for defining the technical features of weapon systems and undertaking trial evaluation, Director General Quality Assurance for quality assurance, the office of DG (Acquisition) for contract negotiation, Department of Defence Production for industrial development and The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for sponsoring research on futuristic technology.

The capital acquisition wing of the Ministry will be brought under this new organisation.

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