DESI AIRCRAFT TO DOMESTIC PROCUREMENTS: DEEP DEFENCE DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT - The Daily Guardian
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DESI AIRCRAFT TO DOMESTIC PROCUREMENTS: DEEP DEFENCE DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT

The information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik to a question asked by several Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha.

Ashish Singh

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The government is working on second ‘Positive Indigenisation List’ as part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan on domestic procurements. It is pursuing initiatives to achieve higher levels of indigenisation and self-reliance in the defence sector by harnessing the capabilities of the public and private sector industries in the country. Case for procurement of Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) and Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) is being progressed in accordance with extant procedures. Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) framework was launched in April 2018 with an aim to achieve self-reliance and to foster innovation and technology development in defence and aerospace by engaging industries including MSMEs, startups, individual innovators, R&D institutes and academia. iDEX provides grants for prototype development and promotes innovation and entrepreneurship among the defence startups. Various initiatives being undertaken under iDEX are as follows:

1. Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC): iDEX is emerging as a front runner & has gained substantial traction in the Defence Startup Community. Various MSMEs/Startups have been funded so far, to evolve services related research towards challenges/Problem Statement of Indian Forces. DISC IV was launched on 29 September, 2020 by the RM.

2. iDEX Open Challenges: As part of the iDEX Open Challenges, the received proposals are reviewed for approval by the High Powered Selection Committee (HPSC).

3. iDEX 4 FAUJI: iDEX 4 FAUJI was launched, along with Defence India Startup Challenge IV to support innovations identified by grass root service personnel serving in the field conditions. This would incorporate the first-hand experience for improving and bringing operational and maintenance improvements in existing platforms, as also generate futuristic ideas for innovations in defence manufacturing. These would then be issued as challenges under iDEX with the shortlisted startups being assisted by the applicant servicemen.

4. As part of iDEX initiative, OFB has taken up in-house R&D projects for development of Armament, Ammunition & Equipment items of Land Systems pertaining to i.e. Artillery & Air Defence Gun Systems, Small Arms Weapons Systems, Armoured Fighting Vehicles and futuristic smart ammunition systems.

5. DRDO through Technology development scheme (TDF) scheme aims to fund private sector industry especially MSMEs including Start-ups. Total 25 Projects have been awarded to various private industries including MSMEs and start-ups under TDF scheme so for. The DRDO has also launched a pan India contest’ to bring innovators, entrepreneurs, individual and startups for innovative ideas in the field of defence and aerospace.

6. There are 11 projects of Indian Army as part of DISC and Open Challenges of iDEX which involves hand holding of 23 start-ups. Indian Navy has leveraged iDEX scheme and is presently engaging 21 startups in design and development for 9 projects. IAF, as part of these initiatives, is progressing 11 cases and is engaged with 17 start-ups/individual innovators/MSMEs for design and development of innovative equipment through iDEX.

Following are the steps to bring down the delays in timelines of capital acquisition:

1. The aim of the Defence Acquisition Procedure- 2020 (DAP) is to ensure timely procurement of military equipment, systems and platforms are required by the Armed Forces in terms of performance, capabilities and quality standards, through optimum utilisation of allocated budgetary resources. The following measures have been envisaged in DAP for achieving timely, efficient and effective procurement:

• Exemption of CNC (Contract Negotiation Committee) from furnishing Reasonability of Cost Certificate for DPSU Equipment already Priced by Committee constituted under orders of the Defence Minister.

• Delegation of Financial powers to Services Headquarters from Rs 150 crore to Rs 300 crore.

• Broad timeframe for completing procurement activities (from AoN to award of contract) had been reduced from 80-117 weeks to 70-94 weeks in multi vendor cases and form 92-137 weeks to 82-114 weeks in resultant Single Vendor cases.

• Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) validity has been reduced to six months (from one year) for ‘Buy’ cases and to one year (from two years) for ‘Buy & Make (Indian)’ cases.

• Draft Request for Proposal (RFP) has to accompany Statement of case (SOC) for AoN.

• Single vendor cases at the bid submission and TEC stages will not be automatically retraced but processed with due justification with the approval of Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).

• Guidelines for change of Name of Vendor have been incorporated in DPP-2016 and Guidelines for Handling of Complaints have been notified to address avoid delays on this account.

• To rationalise time taken for Field Evaluation Trials (FET), it has been provided that FET be held in conditions where equipment is most likely to deployed. In addition, provisions have been incorporated for increased use of certification and simulations in the technical evaluation of equipment.

2. Monitoring Mechanism: As part of DAP-2020, various monitoring mechanism have been introduced. Some of the existing monitoring mechanism for the Acquisition schemes is as follows:

• Periodic review of pre-contract schemes by PSO/APSO at SHQ and by DG (Acq) at MoD.

• Periodic review of delayed cases by DPB/DAC.

• Six monthly Review of shipbuilding cases by the Apex Steering Committee, headed by Secretary (DP) and Quarterly review by CWP&A.

• Empowered Project Committee (EPC) for SP Model 10(1) schemes, FTP cases.

• Monitoring of Make cases by Secretary (DP) and Head PMU-Make.

• Post Contract Monitoring for Projects.

This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik to a question asked by Komati Reddy Venkat Reddy and Vanga Geetha Viswanath in the Lok Sabha.

SCHEME FOR PROMOTION OF MSMEs

Following measures have been taken for promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in defence production sector:

• Cases with Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) cost < Rs 100 crore are reserved for MSMEs, provided there are at least two or more MSMEs eligible to participate in the category.

• In order to encourage startups/MSMEs, procurement cases where the estimated cost is not exceeding Rs 100 crore/year based on delivery schedule at the time of seeking AoN or Rs 150 crore, whichever is higher, may be considered for issue of RFP without any stipulation of Financial parameters.

• Project under the Make categories, with procurement not exceeding Rs 100 crore/year based on delivery schedule at the time of seeking AoN are earmarked for MSMEs.

• Offset Policy has been revised in the year 2020, to provide a multiplier of 1.5 where Indian Offset Partner (IOP) is a MSME.

• Department of Defence Production (DDP) regularly conducts outreach programs in various parts of the country to interact with industry associations, industry especially MSMEs and academia, to spread awareness about the potential export opportunities. A scheme aimed to promote MSMEs in defence has been accorded approval. Under this scheme, conclaves/seminars are organised in Tier II and Tier III cities across the country with strong industrial and MSME presence, with the support of DDP. Three state level conclaves and one national level conclave in form of webinar have been organised during last two years under the scheme.

• An innovation ecosystem for defence titled Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) has been launched in April, 2018. iDEX is aimed at creation of an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in defence and aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, startups, individual innovators, R&D institutes and academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D which has potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs.

• An indigenisation portal namely SRIJAN has been launched in August 2020 for Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs)/Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)/Services with an industry interface to provide development support to MSMEs/startups/industry for import substitution.

• Government has established two Defence Industrial Corridors, one each in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to serve as an engine of economic development and growth of Indian defence industry including MSMEs.

• Ministry of MSMEs implements various schemes and programmes for promotion and development of MSMEs including defence sector MSMEs across the country. These include Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), Scheme of fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI), A scheme for Promotion of Innovation, Rural Industries and Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE), Credit Guarantee scheme, Credit Linked Capital Subsidy and Technology Upgradation Scheme (CLCSSTUS), Technology Centre Systems Programme (TCSP), Micro and Small Enterprises-Cluster Development Programme (MSE-CDP), Procurement and Marketing Support Scheme etc. Ministry also reviews and monitors the progress of the implementation of the Public Procurement Policy for MSEs Order, 2012.

As per information provided by Ministry of MSMEs, the details of procurement in terms of value from MSEs in Defence Sector by the Defence Department/CPSEs in the last two years and current year are as under:

Further, regular Vendor development programmes and webinars are organized for MSMEs by OFB and DPSUs for development of supply chain. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, many webinars were conducted due to Covid-19 restrictions on physical accumulation. This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik to a question asked by Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma in the Lok Sabha.

INDIGENOUS AIRCRAFT AND SUBMARINES

Indian Navy has placed orders for following indigenous aircraft and submarines:

(1)Aircraft by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL): 12 Dorniers

(ii) 16 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH MK III).

(iii) 8 Chetak helicopters.

(2)Submarines: Six Scorpene class submarines are being built by Mazagon Dock and Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) under Project-75.

There are some delays in the projects. Reasons for delays are as follows:

(1) Aircraft: The deliveries have been delayed due to the supply chain disruptions caused by Covid-19 pandemic.

(2)Submarines: The delays have been caused due to the various defects observed during the trials of the submarines, requirement of certain modifications and delays in the supply of items required for construction by the collaborator / ToT provider-Naval Group, France. The outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic has further impacted the delivery schedule of the submarines. In the interest of national security, the details cannot be divulged. However, the existing submarine fleet is being maintained combat worthy through life extension & modernization/upgradation.

This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik to a question asked by Ravindra Kushwaha and others in the Lok Sabha.

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Defence

‘ARMY CAN MEET ANY CHALLENGE TO SAFEGUARD COUNTRY’

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The Army is fully prepared to meet any challenge like the use of drones and social media by adversaries to safeguard the country, said Commandant of Chennai-based Officers Training Academy (OTA) Lieutenant General M K Das. Lt Gen Das, who is also the colonel of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) regiment, said the situation in J&K is getting better with the Army and other security agencies working together to stamp out terrorism. Speaking to media on the sidelines of the maiden attestation parade of 460 new recruits of the 126th batch after a successful 40-week training period at Dansal here, he said the Indian Army is aware of the challenges and prepared to give a befitting response to the enemies of the nation.

Talking about the need to introduce special training courses for soldiers in the aftermath of the developments in Afghanistan, he said, “Our training is very contemporary as it caters for all the contingencies and unforeseen situations. My young soldiers, who have taken the oath to defend the constitution and the country, will live up to all the challenges. One of the unique things of this regiment (JAKLI) is all our troops hail from J&K and Ladakh. They have ingrained quality to be security conscious much more than others.” Lt Gen Das said, “All the situations unfolding in the country or in our neighbourhood, the JAKLI regiment will continue to excel and be the lead agency in the fight against terrorism.” Asked about the challenges posed by the use of drones to hit targets and deliver weapons and narcotics from across the LoC and International Border, he said a capsule course on anti-drone measures has been introduced. “On Army Day on 15 January, our chief took the threat seriously and our soldiers are being prepared to deal with the challenge in a better way.” During recruitment training, Lt Gen Das said that besides the arms handing and exercises, thrust is also given on science and technology, cybersecurity and other new challenges. He said the misuse of social media by “anti-national” elements is a reality and the new recruits are being trained in cybersecurity during their basic and orientation courses.

On attempts by Pakistan to mislead the youth of J&K, Lt Gen Das said, “The youth of J&K is showing keenness to be a part of the regiment which is a message to those who think they can mislead our youth. Joining the regiment is the best way to serve the nation, the youth live like a family and there is complete communal harmony.” He said the regiment is increasing the number of local youth from Ladakh and would also go for recruitment in J&K to provide an opportunity to the local youth to become part of this regiment. Asked about his message to the misguided youth, he said, “J&K is the crown of India but if I focus as a soldier, I feel they (misguided youth) have not understood their country… the situation has not gone out of hand and the Army has kept its window open to allow them to surrender and join the national mainstream.”

He added, “We have a unit of 162 Infantry Territorial Army who are former militants but have become upright soldiers.” Lt Gen Das said the Army and other security agencies are working in close coordination and the situation in J&K is getting better and the “day is not far when this region will make our country proud.”

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Defence

SOUTHERN NAVAL COMMAND OBSERVES INTERNATIONAL COASTAL CLEAN-UP DAY IN KOCHI

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The Southern Naval Command observed International Coastal Clean-up Day on Saturday with a focus on mangrove plantation and clearance of plastic/non-biodegradable waste along with waterfront areas in and around Kochi, said a press release from the Ministry of Defence.

Pursuant to the global campaign of keeping coastlines clean, more than 600 Naval personnel and the families of Southern Naval Command undertook clearance of plastic and non-biodegradable waste at different locations spread across the city, coastal areas such as Fort Kochi beach, Thevara waterfront, Willingdon Island, Cherai beach, Bolgatty and around 2 km stretch of the Venduruthy channel while restoring around 1 lakh sqm of mangroves to the pristine condition. In addition, 80 mangrove saplings were also planted along the Venduruthy channel. Similar coastal cleanup drives and lectures/webinars/competitions emphasising protection of the coastal and marine environment were undertaken with the enthusiastic participation of the Naval community at other outstation Naval units located at Lonavala, Jamnagar, Chilka, Coimbatore, Goa, Ezhimala and Mumbai.

Being the Training Command of the Indian Navy, the Southern Naval Command has always been at the vanguard in promoting environmental conservation activities both at the Command Headquarters, Kochi as well as at Naval stations spread across the country.

Mandated to oversee naval training, the Southern Naval Command has conceptualised and implemented a variety of green initiatives. Keeping environmental preservation as one of the Key Result Areas, the Command has constantly endeavoured to motivate young officer and sailor trainees of the Indian Navy to imbibe the habit of protecting mother nature as part of their grooming efforts in preparing them to become responsible future Naval leaders and dependable citizens of India.

Particular attention has also been given to create more awareness among the families and more importantly the children.

During the last three years, the Command has adopted a multi-dimensional approach towards conservation of the environment and implementation of energy conservation methods.

To highlight a few, the personnel of the Command were actively involved in the rejuvenation of 4.5-km-long Venduruthy Channel near Kochi Naval base, creating awareness in and around Naval establishments.

Efforts were undertaken to enhance green cover by conducting mass plantation drives which included planting more than 75,000 trees, using the fast-growing Miyawaki forestation method. In addition, regular coastal clean-up drives, mangrove plantation drives, in-house handling and recycling of bio and non-biodegradable waste, adopting efficient energy and water-saving methods etc were also undertaken. The Command has also earnestly endeavoured to continue all the efforts for protecting and conserving the environment and natural resources. Towards achieving the same, the Command has implemented a Green Initiative and Environment Conservation Roadmap with a prime focus on Carbon footprint reduction.

With the personal involvement of Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command is committed to creating a clean, green and healthy environment in line with the visionary environment conservation policies of the Govt of India. On the occasion, Adv M Anilkumar, Mayor, Kochi Municipal Corporation and staff also participated in Kochi.

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IAF TO HOLD AIR SHOW OVER DAL LAKE IN SRINAGAR ON 26 SEPT

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An air show will be held here on 26 September where IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga and Suryakiran Aerobatic and Display Team and paramotor flying will manoeuvre the skies over the famous Dal Lake, officials informed on Saturday.

The air show will be organised by the Air Force Station Srinagar and the Jammu and Kashmir administration as part of the ongoing celebrations commemorating ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, they said. The main aim of the exercise—under the theme ‘Give Wings to Your Dream’—is to motivate the youth of the valley to join the Indian Air Force (IAF) and to promote tourism in the region, the officials said.

The event will be flagged off Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) overlooking Dal Lake.

More than 3,000 college and school students are expected to participate in the programme to witness the impressive manoeuvres of the IAF, which will motivate them to dream about a career in the force and in the aviation sector, the officials said. “The show will also develop passion among the students to give wings to their dreams. Along with the students, 700 teachers will also be present at the venue,” they added.

During the demonstration, students will also be familiarised with the new technological advancements achieved and incorporated by the IAF while flying aircraft in the sky over the world-famous Dal Lake, the officials said. Stalls will be established at SKICC where students will be familiarised with the achievements of the Air Force, employment opportunities in the IAF, recruitment rules and eligibility criteria, they added.

Srinagar-based PRO Defence Col Emron Musavi said the display will include flypast by various aircraft of the IAF. The spectators would also get to witness paramotor flying and IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga in action. ‘Ambassadors of IAF’, Suryakiran Aerobatic Display Team, will be performing in the valley after a gap of 14 years, he said. Col Musavi said the symphony orchestra of the IAF would also be performing at the event. The event would also consist of a photo exhibition depicting the history of the

IAF, he said. 

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ARMY ORGANISES EXHIBITION IN JAIPUR TO COMMEMORATE INDIA’S VICTORY IN 1971 WAR

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JAIPUR : South Western Command of the Indian Army on Saturday organised an exhibition showcasing defence equipment at Chitrakoot Stadium in Jaipur to mark the 50th anniversary of India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.

Speaking to ANI, an Indian army official said, “We have displayed the defence equipment in this exhibition to make people aware of the Indian army achievements. We want to motivate the youth by showcasing these types of equipment.” “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, these events had been started to make people aware of Indian Arm Forces. So, we are also continuing the move by organising these kinds of events,” he added.

Further, he said that India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war is memorable for all the Indians, so, every citizen should be aware of this war.  

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BRO makes history, appoints woman Army officer in-charge of road construction unit

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The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has appointed a woman Army officer for the first as the Officer Commanding of its 75 road construction company (RCC) in Uttarakhand, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday.

The three platoon commanders under Major Aaina, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K became the first women RCC. The appointments were made on August 30.

BRO on Sunday recalled the list of women officers who were assigned higher leadership roles in the organisation in the current year.

According to a statement issued by the Defence Ministry, BRO has inducted a large number of women into its workforce over the years, right from officers to the level of commercial pilot license holders. “In this regard, a General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) officer EE (Civ) Vaishali S Hiwase took over the reins of 83 Road Construction Company on April 28, employed on an important Indo-China road connecting Munisairi-Bughdiar-Milam, in an area full of adversity and challenges. The lady officer has taken control and is leading the charge with meticulous execution of her tasks,” the statement said.

“The BRO created history again on 30 August when Major Aaina of Project Shivalik took charged as Officer Commanding, 75 Road Construction Companies (RCC) at Pipalkoti in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. She is the first Indian Army Engineer Officer to command a road construction company. Not only this, all three platoon commanders under her, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K are lady officers and they have together created a first-ever women RCC. The Border Roads plans to make four such all women-led RCCs, two each in North Eastern and Western Sectors.”

As India celebrates 75 Years of Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, it also celebrates the ongoing efforts of our Nation towards women empowerment. Women today have started assuming their rightful, equal place as the frontrunners in nation-building and representatives of our strong national character, the statement read.

Over the last six decades, in a graduated and steady manner, the BRO has increased the number of women employed in various roles and duties of road construction. A consolidated effort is being made to empower them by giving them authority and responsibilities to undertake work independently. These women have become symbols of Nari Shakti in their respective areas.

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Defence

IN FIRST FOREIGN VISIT AFTER TAKING OVER AS CDS, GEN BIPIN RAWAT TO VISIT RUSSIA, US

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In his first visit abroad after taking over as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat will be visiting Russia and the US.

Rawat took over his new office as CDS on 31 December 2019, and since then has been declining foreign invitations for focusing on the new assignment of integrating the defence forces as a combined fighting force. “There is a conference of the CDS-rank officers of the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement member countries. China and Pakistan are also part of this grouping,” senior defence officials said.

The CDS conference would be focusing on addressing the regional security issues and Afghanistan is also likely to come up for discussion, they said.

The CDS would also witness the activities of the respective armed forces taking part in the SCO peace mission drills being held in Russia. Indian Army and Air Force are also taking part in the exercise there.

The visit will take place in the coming week and soon after return from Russia, Rawat would be leaving for the US for meeting his counterpart and other American military leadership at the Pentagon.

The two countries have been coming closer militarily in the last few years and have been holding multiple military exercises and hardware cooperation.

The Indian military saw a major change in senior-level structures under the Narendra Modi government as the focus is now on the theatrisation of the fighting forces and bringing in more capabilities and jointness among the three services. 

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