Defence Ministry and armed forces differ on emergency procurement powers

The EP, under which the services can ink contracts worth up to Rs 300 crore each on their own, lets the forces circumvent the long-winded process of acquiring new systems for modernisation.
Defence ministry
Defence ministry

New Delhi: The defence ministry and the armed forces are in talks for the next set of emergency procurement (EP) powers — which was started as an interim arrangement after the 2016 Uri attack — but differ on what it should be spent on. ThePrint has reported.

The EP, under which the services can ink contracts worth up to Rs 300 crore each on their own, lets the forces circumvent the long-winded process of acquiring new systems for modernisation.

Sources in the defence and security establishment told ThePrint that, while the armed forces are seeking emergency procurement powers for capital acquisitions (new equipment), the ministry is of the view that the scheme should cater to sustenance.

“We are in talks. Emergency procurement is much needed and should be continued. The question is what it should be for,” a highly-placed source said.

The EP was extended to all three services — Army, Navy and Air Force — four times and they all have gone ahead and acquired multiple offensive and defence systems since then.

For example, the Army managed to seal 140 procurement deals, spread across four tranches (EP-I to IV) worth Rs 18,000 crore.

It helped the Army fill up critical gaps in multiple fields, including fire-power, drone warfare, mobility, communication and personal protection of soldiers, among others.

The same holds true for the Indian Navy and the Air Force, which has spent funds on procuring drones, missiles and communication systems, among others.

(Defence Watch– India’s Defence News centre that places the spotlight on Defence Manufacturing, Defence Technology, Strategy and Military affairs is on Twitter. Follow us here and stay updated.)

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