CAG clean chit to Modi's Rafale deal under PAC scanner

CAG clean chit to Modi's Rafale deal under PAC scanner

(Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

The CAG clean chit to Modi government's Rafale fighter aircraft deal and the Indian Air Force's operational readiness will be under the scanner of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

At a meeting of the PAC, the Committee decided to examine CAG reports on a host of issues, ranging from defence to agriculture, including the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, which had come under severe criticism in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year.

The CAG report on Capital Acquisitions by the Indian Air Force had found that the Rafale deal negotiated by the Modi government was 2.8% cheaper than the 2007 deal finalised by the UPA government, which was scrapped in 2015.

The government auditor had also faulted the IAF and the bureaucracy over “inordinate delays” in acquiring the Apache attack helicopters, the Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, the C-130J transport aircraft and various weapons for the armed forces.

A separate report by the CAG on operational shortcomings in the frontline airfields of the IAF, the government auditor had flagged issues such as lack of aircraft refuellers, radars and ammunition handling equipment.

The CAG had pointed out gaping holes in the airfields, said inadequate equipment and deficient infrastructure are impacting the readiness of the force to deal with any possible security challenge.

The PAC will also examine the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which came in for scathing criticism from the opposition ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Among the issues flagged by the Committee include lack of access to data, IT audit of the GST Network, rejuvenation of river Ganga under the flagship initiative Namami Gange, and implementation of Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme.