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INTERVIEW
‘The Ministry Continuously Weeds out Inefficient Procedures and Adopts the Best Practices to Ensure that there are no Undue Delays’
Minister of state for defence, M.M. Pallam Raju
What is new in the recently released Defence Procurement Procedure policy, and how does it advance the case of making the national defence industry strong?

A number of important changes have been made in DPP-2011. It creates new procedures for greater participation of India’s private sector defence industry through new shipbuilding procedures, enhancement of the scope of offsets to bring in investments and purchases in newer areas of dual use related to civil aviation and homeland security. We expect it to lead to greater level-playing field, spurring even wider and deeper participation of the Indian industry and making our industrial base stronger.

Are we doing enough to get defence technology from outside to India?


India is striving to reduce its reliance on foreign technology and platforms in defence equipment, while ensuring that its armed forces maintain an edge over India’s adversaries through induction of comparable or superior equipment based on state-of-the-art technologies.
As such, our attempts have not been limited to merely importing defence technologies from outside, but to make sure that the technology imported is essential, and that it is tweaked to India’s requirements from a R&D, manufacturing and an operational perspective.
Defence services complain that normal procurements (not those on fast-track) happen slowly because the procedures are laborious. Is there a need to review the existing procedures?

The procurement procedures in India are geared to achieve faster procurement, while ensuring that the important objectives of transparency and competition are not compromised in the process. As such, our processes tend to be more consultative and participatory, much like the Indian democratic system. Also, defence procurement is not as off-the-shelf as civilian procurements, and it is always our objective to ensure that state-of-the-art technologies are incorporated to the maximum extent possible in the equipment we are procuring. Having said that, it is also true that the ministry continuously weeds out inefficient procedures and adopts the best practices from its past experiences to ensure that there are no undue delays and that sufficient efficiency and flexibility is incorporated in its procurement processes.
 What are the benefits of numerous defence seminars which are attended by the users and industry? How can these seminars be improved?
These defence seminars provide a useful channel of interaction for user groups from the ministry, domestic industry and foreign manufacturers, and other stakeholders such as R&D specialists and academia. Each party in this process benefits from enhanced knowledge of capabilities and requirements, and national and international developments in both the short- and the long-run, so as to ultimately benefit from the development of defence industry and services’ capabilities. What can the defence ministry do to deter growing corruption in the armed forces?
At the very outset, I must state that the ministry is proud of the high levels of integrity and commitment to the nation on part of its armed forces and its departments that support them. The cases we hear are more by way of exception, as in any other country and sector, rather than a rule. On this count, the ministry is ever vigilant in ensuring that these highest standards of commitment and integrity are maintained and improved. India’s MoD was the one of the first ever to introduce integrity pacts in its defence procurements, and continues to strengthen that process of oversight and vigilance. In addition, most of its decision-making is consultative, in order that all stakeholders are actively involved in its decisions, whether policy-related or procedural. India’s MOD places a high premium on value-based systems and work-ethics, and takes all possible steps to achieve these important public objectives.
 
 
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