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Uncertainty in South Block after Parrikar exit

Discussion in 'National Politics' started by Agent_47, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Officials say Parrikar’s exit could not have come at a worse time for Ministry
    Uncertainty looms over South Block with Manohar Parrikar leaving charge of the Defence Minister. His exit could not have come at a worse time for the Ministry, several officials said.

    Mr. Parrikar’s sudden departure has put the brakes on several major initiatives to overhaul defence procurement, indigenisation, civil-military relations and so on.

    “Continuity is required in the Defence Ministry, especially when projects have a long gestation period. So unless they are pushed continuously, the time lag will keep increasing and the process of indigenisation will keep getting delayed,” the former Chief of the Army Staff Deepak Kapoor told The Hindu.

    He cautioned that delays were “detrimental to national security”.

    Among the top priorities is the policy on the strategic partnership model, part of the Defence Procurement Procedure, which will spell out guidelines for tie-ups between foreign manufacturers and the private sector in high technology areas to build military hardware in India.

    Officials said that the policy, after much deliberations and delays, was ready and was expected to be released after the elections. But a question mark hangs on it now.

    Not an add-on


    Defence is too important to be handled as an add-on, especially by the Finance Minister, said Air Vice-Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (Retd), Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Air Power Studies.

    “Major decisions are required which are in the final stages such as strategic partnerships, procurements and anomalies in the Seventh Pay Commission. They will now get delayed,” he said.



    Pay revision
    The other major issue is implementation of the Seventh Pay commission for the services, which was already done for their civilian counterparts.

    The issue is being looked into by the anomalies committee and there is growing resentment among the services over the delay.

    He said these issues had to be sorted out quickly, which was best done with a full-fledged Defence Minister.

    Beyond procurements and the implementation of the pay commission proposals, Mr. Parrikar had spent considerable time and effort on issues such as reorganising the military to make it lean and lethal and the appointment of a Chief of the Defence Staff.

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/uncertainty-in-south-block/article17463471.ece
     
  2. Hellfire

    Hellfire Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Poor leadership, that is all one can say reading the comments. A vested interest at work?

    No going concern and for that matter, any military unit, grinds to a halt due to a change in the 'boss'. The inherent nature of good leadership rests on creation of redundancies in the command and executive structure.

    Same exists for any military unit where change in leadership/vaccuum in same due to mishap, does not reduce/affect the combat/administrative effectiveness of a unit.

    Similarly, the redundancies exist in corporate sector in any going concern.

    Typical case of Indian sycophancy or the inherent need to praise an ex-leader in an exaggerated manner to show 'respect'.
     
    nair, PARIKRAMA and IndiranChandiran like this.
  3. PARIKRAMA

    PARIKRAMA Angel or Devil? Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    As you find in most Indian companies, the Indian political system also suffers from the same perennial issue..

    NO Succession planning at all.. and no grooming of the successor..

    As seen in the companies plagued by this issue, everything is one person specific.. so if the person is out or dead or injured everything will suffer and work will come to a grinding halt...

    What needs to be seen is when Sushma Swaraj was out due to health issues, we did NT have enough support inspite of good work by Mr Singh and Mr Akbar..

    Parrikar departure shows the glaring hole of no succession planning as well..

    Imagine if Tomo say Modi is out for a month due to sickness, do you thing HM Rajnath Singh or even FM Jaitley can handle the country?

    Any unforseen circumstances and there will be more delay.. the end suffering of ppl will only lead to more frustration. And critical modernisation will suffer as well..
     
  4. Grevion

    Grevion Professional Think TROLL ELITE MEMBER

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    Have already said this. This was really a bad time for parrikar to leave the office.
     
  5. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Why Parrikar’s Will Be A Tough Act To Follow

    Now that Manohar Parrikar’s return to Goa is done and dusted, the immediate priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be to find an equally hard working, transparent and approachable Raksha Mantri for India. Though Arun Jaitley, the perennial ‘go-to’ man has been given the additional charge of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), surely he can’t be expected to handle two large and critical ministries simultaneously.

    However, whosoever is the new occupant in South Block in the coming months will find it a hard act to follow since Parrikar, in his 28 month stint, had brought in a new sense of vigour and purpose in the largely moribund MoD.

    Before Parrikar took over as Defence Minister, he had been variously described to me as a reluctant politician, an even more reluctant minister at the Centre and an outsider in the power corridors of Delhi. To my mind however, after getting acquainted with him over the past two-and-a-half years, Parrikar can be best described as a simple man who is not a simpleton; a man of frugal habits who shunned all visible trappings of power and was quick to understand complex issues.

    Those attributes not only allowed him to grasp the intricacies and complexities of the important ministry but also enabled him to put his own stamp on the day-to-day functioning of the MoD. There have been slip-ups and some embarrassments too, because well-entrenched vested interests tried to undermine his authority.

    I remember meeting him for the first time in February 2015 (before that, had only heard about Parrikar as an unusual politician). One of the questions he had was: “What in your view is the biggest challenge here?”

    At first, because of unfamiliarity with him, I had thought of playing safe and gave a standard reply that, “it’s a large, sensitive and important ministry and therefore not easy to understand quickly.”

    But his easy manner encouraged me to be bolder and remark: “Your greatest challenge will be the status quo mindset that pervades through the civil and military bureaucracy. Everyone will tell you that such and such thing cannot be done because there has been no precedence to it. If you can overcome that trend, maybe you would have made a big start.”

    I can’t judge if Parrikar took that input (not advice) seriously but whoever I came across since then – whether in the services or in the defence industry – swore by Parrikar’s efforts to re-engerise the MoD and bring in more accountability.

    This in itself is a big change because at the best of times, the MoD is a lumbering giant, slow to stir and act. It is not only entrusted with the defence of India but is also the administrative ministry for India’s nearly 15 lakh military personnel (Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard). It also has one of the largest budgets in the government of India. For 2017-18, for instance, it has been allocated Rs 359,854 crore ($ 53.5 billion). Critics have quibbled over the comparatively low increase in the defence budget this year. But that is the least of the challenges.

    Instead, reducing timelines for acquisitions, better and optimum utilisation of available resources, bringing in more accountability and transparency in MoD’s functioning and making sure most critical voids in India’s defence preparedness are made up in quick time, have been the focus areas in South Block. But above all, the MoD under Parrikar saw to it that the Make in India initiative of the Prime Minister gets the necessary impetus in defence production.

    Promulgation of Defence of Procurement Policy (DPP)-2016 was the first step towards making fundamental changes in the way weapons platforms are acquired in India. The Buy IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured) category introduced in DPP-2016 now gets the top-most priority amongst six categories that constitute the new DPP, which is the guiding document for all defence purchases in India. In effect, this means all those Indian companies which have the capability of designing and developing their products indigenously will from now on get the first preference in most purchases that the three armed forces undertake.

    Under the new category for Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured (IDDM) equipment, it will be mandatory for 40 per cent of the content to be sourced locally.

    The new DPP has many fresh ideas designed to accelerate defence acquisitions while encouraging indigenous companies under the flagship programme of Make in India. For instance, in order to cut down delays, the DPP henceforth mandates that all AONs (Acceptance of Necessity) of a particular platform will be valid only for only six months as against the 12 months deadline that it currently provides. Moreover, no AON will be notified until it is accompanied by a finalised RFP (Request for Proposal or detailed tender). In essence, this eliminates one intermediate stage since notifying an RFP after an AON used to be inordinately delayed.

    Prioritisation of projects was the first step. Defence acquisitions are expensive and since very little was purchased in the past five years, the backlog just added to the problem. A review of proposed projects made over the previous five years found that the bureaucracy in the ministry – both civil and military – were sitting on some 400-odd big and small projects that were critical to the three armed forces. A thorough review revealed that nearly one-third of the 400-odd projects were now irrelevant. So they were discarded. About 50 projects were accelerated since they were of critical importance.

    Next, important schemes across the three services that needed immediate funding and implementation were identified. The figures speak for themselves: The MoD cleared a total of 124 new contracts worth Rs 209,751 crores since the Modi government came to power. These include artillery guns, attack and medium lift helicopters for the Army (Chinook and Apache helicopters from the US); frigates and mine counter-measure vessels for the Navy and Akash missiles for the Air Force.

    Post-September 2016, when India conducted surgical strikes against Pakistan and it seemed for a while that Pakistan may mobilise for a larger conflict, India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) authorised the three forces to make fast-track acquisitions worth nearly Rs 20,000 crores making it one of the most productive years for the MoD.

    This had to be done on priority because the previous government had neglected even the basic requirements. The previous Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in Parliament made for grim reading. “Stocking of ammunition even at ‘minimum acceptable risk level’ was not ensured, as availability of ammunition as on March 2013 was below this level in respect of 125 out of a total of 170 types of ammunition.” Also, in 50 per cent of the total types of ammunition, the holding was “critical” – insufficient for even 10 days of fighting, the report added.

    This has now been corrected by making sure that ammunition for 10 days of intense fighting is always in stock. Once that objective is achieved, the ministry will look at further replenishing the stocks. The delegated financial powers for vice chiefs of the three services and Army commanders has been enhanced to allow speedier purchases. This is a big change in the notoriously slow and opaque functioning that has historically besieged the MoD.

    In another major decision, the government opened up the defence sector for foreign direct investment (FDI), allowing 49 per cent FDI through the automatic route and up to 100 per cent FDI on a case to case basis. Also, the restrictions on what was ‘state-of-the-art technology’ has been reduced to ‘modern technology’. This would increase the number of defence companies investing in India.

    Procurement and modernisation of three services apart, the biggest decision by the Modi government was to grant the One Rank One Pension – a 40-year-old demand of the veterans. Although there have been some voices of disgruntlement on the issue, the fact is, this government showed the necessary political will and resolve to give due dignity to military veterans.

    Significantly, MoD has now allowed authorised, registered agents to represent companies and eliminate delays or cancellation of contracts because of anonymous complaints. Anonymous letters are now a no-go. The ministry wants to use the power to ban a firm only in the rarest case. The previous government had indiscriminately blacklisted over a dozen firms, severely restricting the options of the forces to source equipment.

    Despite Parrikar’s efficiency and good intentions, a toxic legacy left behind by a decade and more of lethargy and timidity under A K Antony will take sustained efforts by Parrikar’s successor to ensure that the MoD effectively discharges its duties towards securing the nation.

    Half done initiatives like choosing the strategic partners for making defence platforms in India, reforming higher defence management (appointing a CDS – even if 4-star), creating joint commands for space, cyber and special operations will have to be followed by Parrikar’s successor. It’s for PM Modi to choose the right man – or woman – to do that, and do it fast.

    https://swarajyamag.com/defence/why-parrikars-will-be-a-tough-act-to-follow

    I fully agree with the author here. MP was a suitable leader for the south block. He have done many small but significant reforms and paved way for forward looking major reforms like strategic partnership and CDS.

    @Abingdonboy @randomradio @Hellfire @MilSpec
     
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  6. MilSpec

    MilSpec Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Bring in Piyush Goel...

    other than that there is no alternative.
    #Goel4DM


     
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  7. Proxy1234

    Proxy1234 FULL MEMBER

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    Proper development of successors are very much needed but in the political system it is complex and very hard to achieve, I guess.
    How to develop a minister suited for defense or home, etc? Circumstances make leaders. As in I don't think there will be any able replacement for PM Modi because he went through extreme circumstances. Not everybody faces them and does any one want to face such?
    Also, interest and politics don't go hand in hand, a minister has to devote time for different things, how can he/she take out time for particular departments?
    But yes, there should be pre defined protocols as to who is the successor of PM for national security reasons. Rest all can be anyone from the party I think selected by PM.
     
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  8. randomradio

    randomradio Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    It's pointless to have part time RMs.
     

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