Defence procurement panel to release new norms by March

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had recently approved setting up of this high-level committee, and officials earlier said the panel will recommend measures to remove procedural bottlenecks and hasten defence acquisition. PTI file photo

A high-level committee set up by the government to review the existing policy framework on military procurement to ensure seamless flow in acquisition and maintenance of assets will come out with fresh norms by March next year, a senior defence ministry official said on Thursday.

Apurva Chandra, Director General (Acquisition) in the Defence Ministry, addressing the inaugural session of an international conference here, said, while the last iteration of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) was in 2016, and the Defence Procurement Manual (DPM) has not been updated since 2009.

The committee, headed by Chandra, seeks to revise and align the procurement procedures with the aim of ensuring seamless flow from asset acquisition to life cycle support.

"The Defence Minister had made me the chairman of the committee to reconstitute both the DPP and DPM, and we are going to come out of new versions by March 2020," he said.

The work has begun and sub-committees have been constituted to fine-tune the procedures, Chandra said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had recently approved setting up of this high-level committee, and officials earlier said the panel will recommend measures to remove procedural bottlenecks and hasten defence acquisition.

Chandra said, in the DPP, a chapter is likely to be included on shipbuilding, adding, a sub-committee will recommend ways to have greater clarity on-air platforms.

Another sub-committee will look into trials and tests, he said.

"We also want to have chapters on all makes, like make-I or make-II into on chapter, along with those on IDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence) and spiral development," he said, adding that a chapter on information and communications technology (ICT) is also planned.

The government has been maintaining that military modernisation is a major focus area. However, the acquisition processes of a large number of military platforms and weapons are not moving forward due to procedural delays.

The terms of reference of the committee include simplifying policy and procedures to facilitate greater participation of Indian industry and develop robust defence industrial base in the country and explore ways to hasten defence acquisition.

On the DPM, Chandra said currently it is common for all procurement, be it civil use or military-grade items, armaments and ammunition, or for long-term support.

So, it was felt that there should be three procedures for meeting different requirements, he said.

"The DPP and DPM together constitute a complex matter, and therefore what we will come out now, will set the path for procurement of defence equipment for 5-10 years," the director-general (acquisition) said.

He also urged the private industry to offer valuable suggestions on it.

"We have already circulated the last DPM to all industry associations to be sent to their members, and the DPP iteration is on the website, in public domain, and we will be for inviting suggestions," he said.

A key mandate of this high-level committee is to recommend measures to promote the government's policy to promote domestic defence industry and encourage Indian start-ups as well as research and development.

The two-day conference hosted at the India Habitat Centre is on 'energising Indian aerospace industry: flight plan for the future'.

Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal R K S Bhadauria and other senior officials, besides representatives from the industry, were present on the occasion.

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