Discuss the various reforms taken by the Indian government to strengthen Defence preparedness. What steps should be taken to further deepen the effects of these reforms?
The Ministry of Defence has undertaken a number of reforms during the last five years. Given its volatile security environment and the changing character of warfare, India cannot afford to lower its military guard. Various reforms taken are as follows:
- Defence Planning:Defence Planning Committee was set up under the chairmanship of the National Security Advisor. It will facilitate comprehensive and integrated defence planning. Its aim was to develop a national security strategy. The need of the hour is to keep in view the critical requirements of the armed forces keeping in mind the resource constraints.
- Defence Budget: Defence budget has seen a hefty rise after the implementation of the recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission and the One Rank One Pension scheme. As a result, the capital procurement budget, which is critical for defence modernisation, has seen a marked fall in its share in the budget.
- Defence Acquisition: The present Defence Procurement Management System and the Defence Procurement Procedures have worked a long way. But still there are some issues left. In performance audit report of 2019, the CAG has pointed out that the existing organisation has resulted in diffused accountability as it involves numerous agencies that are accountable to different administrative heads. The acquisition machinery suffers from lack of professional expertise to undertake the assigned tasks.
- Make in India in Defence: The government has taken a large number of initiatives to promote indigenous defence manufacturing. It includes followings:
Streamlined industrial licensing process
A hike in the foreign direct investment cap from 26 to 100 per cent
A level-playing field for the private sector
A new procurement category to enable domestic industry to focus on indigenous design
- An ambitious defence production policy that aims at arms production
- Launching of two defence industrial corridors
- Identification of a number items in which local suppliers would enjoy purchase preference
Reforms needed: To provide greater momentum to the modernisation of the armed forces, there is a need to enhance defence spending. There is need to explore the option of generating revenues by putting to commercial use the unused and underused defence land. Strengthening the defence manufacturing base to meet the requirements of the armed forces is required to be done.