New defence minister hints at plans to legalise agents, transparency is the need of hour
Prahlad Rao | December 31, 2014
To rev up defence procurement in a big way, defence minister Manohar Parrikar has hinted at limited approval to dealing with banned firms and assured changes in the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) to legalise representatives from foreign defence firms by mid-February.
“Changes will be made to the DPP, representatives will be allowed but commission, or percentage of profit for the deals will not be allowed. The representatives’ remuneration shall be declared by the company,” Parrikar revealed on Tuesday night.
This kind of open policy was issued over a decade ago. The guidelines for registering defence agents required them to list their contractual, banking and financial details with the ministry of defence. But the outcome has been disappointing as no agent has come forward to register with the government.
And this is where the problem begins. It is well-known in defence circles that the agents like to keep low profile with limited visibility in the corridors of power. This is to ensure that they are not exploited by all and sundry to push their files through the procurement channel.
But the agents are harassed by all kinds of officials for payment and corruption. It starts before the bid and continues even after the contract is signed.
Middlemen and defence agents were banned for years after the scandal broke out in the 1980s involving alleged kickbacks paid to politicians and officials in the purchase of Bofors guns during the Congress government.
Many recommendations to legalise middlemen and making negotiations transparent have been made by committees and also by the central vigilance commissioner. Parikkar has said that banned firms can be conditionally allowed “based on merit and necessity”. Here again the government seeks to inject discretion as the firms will be at the mercy to officials if they want to participate in any negotiations.
An immediate solution to this multi-billion dollar problem is to have an open and transparent policy. It should include clear guidelines on bidding and procurement. Secondly, designate officials for each defence deal and monitor their assets. Since it is public money, let people know the whole process of defence purchases. Do not operate in secrecy.
Maya Kodnani, a BJP leader who was the MLA from Naroda when this locality on the outskirts of Ahmedabad witnessed one of the most gruesome episodes during the Gujarat riots of 2002, was acquitted by the Gujarat High Court on Friday. Her acquittal in the Naroda Patiya massacre case is only a sequel to
The number of civic complaints with BMC has increased from 61,910 in 2015 to 92,329 in 2017, which is 49% in two years. A report titled ‘Civic Issues Registered by Citizens and Deliberations done by Municipal Councillors in Mumbai’ released by Praja Foundation has found some interesting facts a
Atishi Marlena is among the nine AAP functionaries who were dismissed by the union home ministry asserting that their posts were created without the approval of the centre. Marlena, served as education advisor of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government in Delhi. While she was intrumental in improving the
The Fortune magazine has named three Indians – lawyer Indira Jaising, industrialist Mukesh Ambani and architect Balkrishna V Doshi – among the world’s greatest fifty leaders.
Remember Kardashev scale? For the uninitiated, it’s a method of measuring a civilization’s level of technological advancement, based on the amount of energy it is able to use for communication. We will get to its unconventional relevance to the big urban questions at the end, but just keep it a
Out of 1580 MPs and MLAs with criminal cases, 48 (three MPs and 45 MLAs) have declared cases related to crime against women. The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and