Coronavirus has impacted India much as it did to the rest of the world. As always, the Indian defence establishment and its personnel were at the forefront of battling the pandemic across the length and breadth of the nation. However, there is a Sars Covid that impacts defence procurement. When will the country wake up to fight this pandemic? SARS COVID as applicable to defence procurements
S (Simplicity) is simply lacking in the Defence Procurement Procedures (DPP). In fact, each version of the DPP has only made the procurement process more complicated, complex and opaque. The latest DAP-2020 has around 800 pages. While the intent of the MoD may have been otherwise, the procedures do not address the serious concerns faced by the defence industry and are unlikely to make the Indian defence industry indigenous and substantially self-reliant as professed in all DPPs.
A (Agencies): The number of agencies involved in the procurement process is mindboggling. Service HQ, user, MoD (Technical Manager), MoD (Joint Secretary & Acquisition Manager), MoD (Finance Manager), DG (Acquisition), SCAPCC (Services Capital Acquisition Plan Categorisation Committee), SCAPCHC (Services Capital Acquisition Plan Categorisation Higher Committee), DAC (Defence Acquisition Council), CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security), DGQA (Director General Quality Assurance), DRDO (Defence Research & Development Organisation), EME (Electronics & Mechanical Engineers, the Maintenance Agency), Army Centre for Electromagnetics (Responsible for EMI/EMC clearance), WE [Weapons & Equipment directorate - Since rechristened Capability Development (CD)], DGMO (Director General Military Operations), DCOAS (Deputy chiefs of Army, Navy and IAF), IDS (Integrated Defence Staff)– the tri-services agency that is supposed to ensure synchronisation and interoperability between the three services), SAG (Security Analysis Group under the aegis of DRDO), ToC (Technical Oversight Committee), WPC (Wireless Planning Commission), SACFA (Standing Advisory Committee for Frequency Allocation), PCDA (Principal Controller of Defence Accounts – the agency that finally releases the payments to vendors) – the list goes on and on. DAP-2020 has added another agency called IEM (Independent External Monitors). With so many agencies, each desperate to prove their importance and worth, the tenders get lost in never-ending red tape and delayed decisions, making a mockery of the timelines suggested in the DPPs. This leads to tenders being ultimately retracted after long-drawn trials/evaluations carried without any compensation to the vendors for their efforts in the design, development and manufacture of prototypes for the No Cost No Commitment (NCNC) trials.
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