New Delhi: India’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat‘s office is now prioritising procurement proposals of the armed forces based on immediate needs, and purging the approvals granted for acquisition of equipment that are now obsolete and don’t fit into the scheme of military plans.
A senior officer in the newly set up Department of Military Affairs (DMA), of which General Bipin Rawat is also the Secretary in his dual role, said the purging of the old Acceptance of Necessity (AoNs) is part of the mandate granted by the government to the CDS.
The AoNs are accorded to the Capital Procurement proposals from the armed forces headquarters by the Defence Minister-headed Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), of which the CDS is a permanent member under the new set up.
The need, for doing away with the procurement proposals of equipment that are deemed obsolete now, is in view of the fast changing military technology environment. Further details of the AoNs that are being cancelled were not given.
Major General Mukesh Aggarwal, who is the Defence Adviser in the Secretariat of the CDS and DMA Secretary, said the process of prioritisation of the Capital Procurement proposals have already begun and the DAC meeting from this month would only take up the priority list of items for approval and grant of AoNs.
Brigadier Aggarwal said the CDS and the DMA will handle all Revenue Procurement proposals, while the Capital Procurement will still follow the Department of Defence route, and will go through the Defence Secretary, at present Dr Ajay Kumar, to the Defence Minister (Rajnath Singh, at present) and the DAC, for approvals.
Under existing financial powers, the Revenue Procurement proposals up to Rs 300 crore ($42 million at today’s exchange rate) are decided by the Vice Chiefs of the army, navy and the air force.
While the Revenue Procurement proposals over Rs 300 crore and up to Rs 500 crore ($70 million) are decided at the Defence Secretary level. Those above Rs 500 crore are approved by the Defence Minister, and those over Rs 1,000 crore ($140 million) go to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
Under the new Department of Military Affairs, the Secretary-cum-CDS will take the call instead of the Defence Secretary for Revenue Procurement.
The Capital Procurement proposals, after prioritisation at the Integrated Defence Staff Headquarters, which is under the CDS, will go through the Director General (Acquisition), at present Apurva Chandra, to the Defence Secretary, and then to the Defence Minister for approvals under the DAC.
General Bipin Rawat and his secretariat will have a dual role, handling the matters relating to the offices of CDS and Secretary DMA.
The Chief Of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs Of Staff Committee (CISC), at present Vice Admiral R. Hari Kumar, will also perform the role of Vice Chief of Defence Staff and Secretary in the DMA looking after the Transformation and Coordination for achieving Jointness among the army, navy and the air force.
The administration and procurement of the Indian Coast Guard, the fourth armed force of the Union of India, will continue to be handled by the Department of Defence headed by the Defence Secretary.