Government sets up panel to speed up defence purchases

The defence ministry has issued orders for constituting a previously announced 11-member advisory committee to speed up the purchase of weapons and systems to sharpen the military’s capabilities, two people familiar with the move said on the condition of anonymity.

The ministry announced the setting up of a 13-member committee, the Raksha Mantri’s Advisory Committee on Ministry of Defence Capital Projects, almost six months ago, but the orders passed on July 23 reveal that the panel will have 11 members and two special invitees, said one of the persons cited above.

According to a government statement issued on February 7 when the committee was announced, the panel’s terms of reference include undertaking “independent review and status check” of critical ongoing capital projects worth more than Rs 500 crore.

The advisory panel has also been tasked with assessing the “physical and financial progress” of the programmes reviewed by it, apart from identifying reasons causing delay and recommending the way forward, that statement added.

The panel’s term will end in February 2019, said the second official cited above. He added the committee would be required to submit a preliminary status report by August 31. Two follow-up corrective reports would have to submitted by October 30, 2018 and January 31, 2019. The committee members include former higher education secretary Vinay Sheel Oberoi and former chief of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited RK Tyagi.

The special invitees are from private consultancy firms KPMG and E&Y. “It’s good to know that the panel is in place. We hope it adheres to the timelines and its inputs help accelerate critical projects,” said Lieutenant General (retd) Sanjeev Madhok , who heads defence business at Dynamatic Technologies.

The panel is one of the many steps taken by the government to energise the defence sector.

First Published: Aug 01, 2018 00:35 IST

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