Fast Track Procurement and recent concerns
About Fast Track Procurement
- The fast track procedure (FTP) for buying weapon systems was introduced three years after the Kargil war in 2001 and it has been revised under Defence Procurement Procedure 2016.
- Fast Track Procedure is envisaged for meeting urgent operational requirements.
- The objective of this procedure is to ensure expeditious procurement for urgent operational requirements foreseen as imminent or for a situation in which a crisis emerges without prior warning.
- Fast Track Procedures may also be applied for cases where undue/unforeseen delay, due to reasons beyond the control of the acquisition set up, is seen to be adversely impacting the capacity and preparedness of the regular and Special Forces.
- The FTP will cover acquisitions undertaken by the Ministry of Defence and Defence Services under ‘Buy’ category’ or outright purchase.
- Such acquisitions are applicable for both indigenous sources and exclusive import.
- Procurement proposals in which user trials are envisaged will not be under the purview of FTP.
- The acquisition under FTP can be categorised as under:
- Procurement of equipment already inducted into Service.
- Procurement of new equipment
- The Army has been attempting to replace the indigenous INSAS (Indian National Small Arms System) rifles with a modern rifle.
- Under a ₹700 crore deal in February 2019 with Sig Sauer of the U.S., the Defence Ministry procured 72,400 SIG-716 assault rifles through FTP, most of which were for the Army.
- The remaining demand of over 7 lakh rifles was to be met through the licensed manufacture of Russian AK-203 rifles in India through a joint venture with the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
- However, the final deal has been stuck over the issue of pricing.
Why in News?
- With the Army taking a decision to order assault rifles from foreign vendors, domestic small arms manufacturers have expressed concern over continuing imports.
- There are Indian companies which can make small arms with over 50% indigenous content and can reportedly match the price and timelines.
- In the last few years, several Indian companies have invested in the small arms segment, given the large requirement and efforts by the government to open up ammunition to the private sector and have started production as well.
- These firms are requesting to give domestic companies the same level playing field as foreign companies and support Make in India.
- However, without any major order from the armed forces, many companies are looking for smaller orders from police and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).
- If the industry is not given a chance, it will only undermine the Make in India initiative.
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