Situations delaying defence procurement to be tackled: Minister

The new government will take steps to tackle situations where defence procurement cases get stuck on basis of anonymous complaints and the acquisition for armed forces gets delayed, Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said on Thursday.

PTI| Last Updated: May 29, 2014, 19:15 PM IST

New Delhi: The new government will take steps to tackle situations where defence procurement cases get stuck on basis of anonymous complaints and the acquisition for armed forces gets delayed, Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said on Thursday.

Soon after assuming office, he said the NDA government will also work towards fulfilling the promise of giving `one rank-one pension` to the retired armed forces personnel, maintaining that the issue was used by the UPA government only for electoral purposes.
"Our government will definitely take steps to tackle issues where defence deals get stuck after the losing rivals send complaints against the winning bidder in defence contracts. This delays the acquisition for the armed forces which need equipment urgently," Singh said.

Asked if the government was holding discussions in this regard, the minister said he was talking on the issue based on his previous experience in the Defence Ministry where military deals used to get stuck merely on basis of complaints.
He suggested that procurement cases should be stopped only after charges are proved against the firms against whom the complaints have been made.

Under former defence minister AK Antony, in several procurement cases, deals were put on hold after corruption charges were levelled against firms participating in defence deals.

Such cases include the Barak missile procurement for the Navy which was put on hold for over 6-7 years in the wake of a CBI probe against the firm.

Singh said the priority of the new government would be to provide the equipment required by the armed forces at the right time to make them strong.

He said Defence Minister Arun Jaitley was also looking after the Finance portfolio and this would help in meeting the requirement of the ministry in fulfilling the requirements of the armed forces.

Singh also held meetings with the senior ministry officials, including Defence Secretary RK Mathur, along with Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh and Navy Chief Admiral Robin Dhowan.

Integrated Defence Staff chief Lt Gen Anil Chait and Strategic Forces Commander Vice Admiral S PS Cheema also briefed the minister on the issues before the ministry.