DAC clears procurements of assault rifles, carbines worth Rs 3,547 crore

Simplifies procedure to develop defence equipment through Make in India

Weapons

BY PK GHOSH

Indian-Army-Jawan
An Army Jawan in a joint exercise

New Delhi. In yet another boost to Make in India, the Government is in gung ho with soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement at Aero India 2015 in Bangalore, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has given a go ahead for the procurement of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines on fast track basis for Rs 3,547 crore to enable the Defence Forces to meet their immediate requirement for the troops deployed on the borders.

The DAC headed and chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met in New Delhi January 16 and simplified ‘Make II’ procedure, which prescribes guidelines to be followed to develop and manufacture defence equipment through Indian Industry.

Also, to encourage participation of private sector in defence design and production and giving a boost to Government’s pet ‘Make in India’ programme, the DAC introduced significant changes in the ‘Make II’ category of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). The Council has simplified the procedure for ‘Make II’ project and made it industry friendly with minimal Government control considering that no Government funding is involved in it.

The salient aspects of the revised procedure will now allow the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to accept suo-motu proposals from the industry and also allows start-ups to develop equipment for Indian Armed Forces.

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Indian Army Jawan with an assault rifle
Indian Army Jawan with an assault rifle

Under the simplified procedure, the minimum qualification criteria to participate in ‘Make II’ projects has also been relaxed by removing conditions related to credit rating and reducing financial net worth criteria.

According to earlier ‘Make II’ procedure, only two vendors were shortlisted to develop prototype equipment. Now, all vendors meeting the relaxed eligibility criteria will be allowed to participate in the prototype development process.

The decision is also significant in the sense that the vendor will not be required to submit Detailed Project Report (DPR). After accord of approval of the ‘Make II’ project by the Council, all clearances will be accorded at Service HQ (SHQ) level.
To hand-hold industry and start-ups, SHQs will now setup project facilitation teams to act as the primary interface between the SHQ and the industry during the design and development stage. These teams would provide technical inputs, trial infrastructure and other facilities as required by the vendor. Even if a single individual or firm offers innovative solutions, the SHQ will now have the option to accept and process the vendor’s development initiative. SHQs will be allowed to hire domain experts/consultants from private sector to increase outreach and enhance awareness among the industry.

Most importantly the latest DAC decision clearly states that there will be no foreclosure of any project after the project is sanctioned, except on default by the vendor, to ensure that the successful vendor has assured orders.

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