‘Conditions apply’ won’t help, open defence deals is the solution

New defence minister hints at plans to legalise agents, transparency is the need of hour

prahlad

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.

Comments

 

Other News

Sowing wheat earlier can help increase yields in India: US researcher

Yield gaps in wheat production in India can be countered with an earlier sowing date, says a University of Michigan researcher.   Using a new way to measure wheat yields, Meha Jain, assistant professor at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability, found that the wheat yie

Giving birth as a Baiga

Kharpariya village, about 50 km from the headquarters town of Madhya Pradesh’s Mandla district, is like many villages in the region, home to the Baiga, deemed a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) for whom permanent contraception methods are banned to prevent extinction. However, care for p

Being the prime minister’s brother

Somabhai Modi says he remembers only one occasion when he offered his younger brother prime minister Narendra Modi advice regarding work. This, he says, was when Modi was chief minister of Gujarat. After one of his weekly grievance redressal sessions, the then chief minister had enquired after the well-b

Should ration cards not linked to Aadhaar be rendered ineligible?

Should ration cards not linked to Aadhaar be rendered ineligible?

INS Kiltan commissioned into Indian Navy

 INS Kiltan, the third anti-submarine warfare (ASW) stealth corvette built under project 28 (Kamorta class), was commissioned into the Indian Navy by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam.    The anti-submarine warfare stealth corvet

SAIL`s special grade steel used to build stealth corvette

Maharatna enterprise, Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) has supplied defence grade micro-alloyed grade of steel (DMR 249A) steel plates for the indigenously built anti-submarine warfare (ASW) stealth corvette INS-Kiltan commissioned into Indian Navy.    SAIL’s integ



Video

Grand Diwali celebrations in Ayodhaya on eve of diwali

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter