NEW DELHI: A parliamentary panel has recommended that a high-powered committee should be constituted to monitor the three types of plans of the defence procurement procedure, which will be implemented by the new post of the Chief of Defence Staff. The committee will have the final say in the decision making of these plans.

The panel has also suggested that additional funding should be given to the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS)-comprising personnel from the army, air force and navy- so that it is able to meet its operational requirements. The IDS will function under the CDS. It has also suggested that indigenisation should be improved to reduce dependence on defence imports. One of the tasks of the CDS is to promote use of indigenous equipment by the three services- army, air force and navy.

The developments came to light in reports of the Standing Committee on Defence, presented to the Lok Sabha Speaker last week. The panel has recommended the constitution of a high-powered committee in light of the indifference’ of the defence ministry and ‘non-approval’ of the finance ministry towards the five-year defence plans. Proposals for acquiring capital assets flow out of the defence procurement process, which has three types of plans- the 15-year Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP), five-year Services Capital Acquisition Plan (SCAP), also known as the Five Year Defence Plan, and the Annual Acquisition Plan (AAP). The LTIPP is split into three five-year SCAP, which indicates the list of equipment to be acquired by the three services in view of operational requirements and funds. These are then split into two year roll-on AAP. One of the main roles of the CDS- whose post and charter was approved by the Union Cabinet on Tuesday- will be to implement these plans.

“The Committee cannot comprehend the reason for non-approval of the Defence Plans (read as five year ones) by the Finance Ministry and indifference of the Ministry of Defence towards it,” it said.

It learnt that although the 12th such plan was approved by the Defence Minister, it was not acceded to by the finance ministry. The defence ministry pointed out to the Committee that non-approval of defence plan doesn’t hinder the implementation of defence projects. “It is surprising for the Committee to know the rationale given by the ministry that the plan does not act as hindrance in the implementation of defence projects...If that is the matter then there was no need for formulating any plan in the first place,” it said.

“The ministry should consider afresh and invariably try to take some sort of consent from the Ministry of Finance so that the plans get a teeth at the time of implementation,” the Committee added.

The Committee also said that ‘considering the fate of the five year defence plans’, it recommends the monitoring of the LTIPP, SCAP and AAP by a high-powered committee, ‘which would have the final say in the decision making of the above plans and meet at regular intervals’. It added that the scope of this committee should be widened to look into national security doctrines and decide acquisitions according to the changes in the world security scenario.

Meanwhile, the Committee in another report has stated that necessary funds be provided to the IDS at the stage of supplementary grants. “The Defence Secretary concurred on the additional requirement of funds for the Joint Staff. The Committee found that lower allocations would adversely impact the operational as well as the administrative functioning of the Joint Staff,” it said.

The operational impact would affect the repairs and refit of ships and procurement at Port Blair, the payment of annual maintenance contract and creation of operational infrastructure. Administrative impacts would include military roads and obstruct training activities.

The Committee has also recommended that the defence ministry should chalk out a plan in consultation with Defence PSUs, Ordnance Factory Board, three services and Indian industry to make efforts to reduce dependence on foreign vendors. It pointed out that since 2014-15, the dependence on foreign vendors for procurement has been rising. “This led to very little procurement from the Indian sources, as it is inversely proportional to procurement from foreign vendors and would affect our indigenous industry in the long run,” it said.