Change is in the Air

Government fast-tracks procurement process for CAPFs

Younis Ahmad Kalo

After clearing the biggest ever internal security scheme of Rs 25,060 crore in September 2017 and having already issued the guidelines for its implementation, the government has now decided to spend Rs 1,054 crore for the modernisation of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) over the next two years.

CRPF soldiers

The decision to spend the money on procurement of modern weapons, vehicles and other equipment was made on December 14 last year at a high-level meeting chaired by Union home minister Rajnath Singh. Earlier, the seven paramilitary forces only got Rs 200 crore every year under Phase 2 scheme of the modernisation scheme that ended in December 2017.

Of the Rs 1,054 crore, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the leading counter insurgency force and largest amongst all the CAPFs with 243 battalions, will get half of the amount approved by the Centre in the next two years for its modernisation, while the remaining amount will be spent on other CAPFs. The CRPF getting to spend over 50 per cent of the sanctioned amount is, according to a home ministry official, largely due to the need of the force’s upgrade because of constantly serving in conflict zones.


Overhaul of the procurement process

The government, after less than a month of sanctioning Rs 1,054 crore for modernisation of the CAPFs, came up with yet another major announcement about an overhaul of the procurement process for the central forces. Union home ministry, in order to do away with the red tape, has decided to cut-down on the time taken to procure latest weapons and equipment for the CAPFs. The ministry also modified the three-stage process of procurement — authorisation, procurement and expenditure sanction — into two by merging authorisation and procurement. This is believed to cut down time by several months.

Furthermore, the financial powers have been given up to the level of commandants of a battalion in the CAPFs for the procurement of arms, ammunition, clothing and tentage, machinery and equipment.

The fast-tracking of procurement process, according to media reports, is to improve the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the CAPFs and continued need for modernisation of the forces. Now, CAPFs will no longer be required to approach the home ministry for approval for finalising the Qualitative Requirements (QRs) for arms or equipment to be procured. And to expedite the finalisation of the tenders for procurement of machinery, weapons and equipment, the ministry has decided that the Special DG or Additional DG shall head the tender purchase committee.

The directors general of CRPF, Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), National Security Guard (NSG), Assam Rifles and National Investigation Agency (NIA) and director of Intelligence Bureau can now spend Rs 15 crore to execute major projects instead of Rs 10 crore.

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