PAC pulls up Defence Ministry for delays in Scorpene project

The submarine project, being undertaken by Mumbai-based Mazagon Dockyards in partnership with French company DCNS, is delayed by over three years as the first of the six vessels to be procured by the Navy would be inducted in 2015 against the original induction plan of 2012.

Asking the Ministry to take corrective action for finalising acquisitions within the specified time-frame to avoid time and cost overruns, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) asked it to "discard" its tendency of putting across excuses in cases of delayed procurement of equipment.

"Highly complex nature of procurement and extensive scrutiny of proposal are no valid excuses for delayed finalisation of the contract for as long as three years," the report by Murli Manohar Joshi-headed Committee said.

The delays have also resulted in the price escalation as the Government has given sanction for cost revision of the project, which was originally signed for over Rs 18,000 crore in 2004.

"Outrightly rejecting" the government's Action Taken Report (ATR) on the delays in the Submarine induction, the PAC "deplored" the "unwarranted stubbornness" of the Defence Ministry to quantify the exact loss in terms of money due to delayed procurement of submarines.

"The Committee reiterate the need for quantification of financial losses accrued due to delayed procurement of equipment and desire the Ministry to apprise it of the exact losses and and action taken to recover the losses and fix responsibility to check recurrence of such incidents," the report said.

The Committee also asked the Ministry to do away with the shortcomings pointed out by the Group of Ministers (GoM) in the defence acquisitions and take into account the changes suggested by it while amending the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP).

Due to the delays, India's under water operational preparedness is likely to suffer as the Navy has been forced to do with its depleting fleet of submarines of which the Kilo Class are being sent to Russia for upgrades.

The government is also working on the proposal to construct six additional submarines for the Navy under Project-75 (India).

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