Thursday, June 4, 2015

The progress of Defense Ministry in the first year

The progress of Defense Ministry in the first year


    The Modi led government has completed a year in office, much was made of Modi’s rule even before he assumed power. The nation has witnessed changes, the way the world looked towards India has changed. Change was promised and looks like is being delivered to better the nation. 

       Under Modi’s rule defence forces have received greater impetus, the government has concentrated in converting India from a “Importing nation to exporting nation”, if this is realized the whole security scenario of India will change for good. The Defence ministry is headed by an able IITian Manohar Parrikar under whom the Indian Defence sector has reached new heights.
      NDA government in its mandate had promised to address the needs of the armed forces by speeding up defence procurement, in order to boost the morale of the forces NDS had also promised to expedite the implementation of OROP and creation of Joint chief of staff office. These decisions haven’t still seen the light of the day but are not agreements which can be finalized in a short span.

OROP - One Rank One Pension


    OROP has been a long standing demand of the armed forces. OROP has been for very long been neglected by the governments, the issue has even reached the apex court which has mandated the government to fast track OROP implementation. Under the OROP the forces will draw pensions based on the rank they served and not based on the pay they were entitled to. 

     Say if a army colonel in 1980's gets a salary of ten thousand he would be entitled to around five thousand as pension when he retires. The Colonel would receive the same amount i.e five thousand as his pension, but a Colonel serving in the force at present would be drawing say thirty five thousand as salary. The Colonel would be entitled to almost seventeen thousand as pension. 

      The position both served was same i.e. as the Colonel, but still the facilities they are entitled to differ. This issue can be set right with the introduction of OROP. The veterans have for long stood up to get this bill passed, under the UPA government nothing much materialized. The UPA government set up panels with in the Army commands to better understand the feasibility of OROP.  

       The veteran’s demands were also taken into consideration by setting independent committees to look into their needs. But UPA ultimately failed to pass the bill and yet again the OROP never materialized. Even though it has been a year since the NDA has assumed office no much headway has been made in bringing an end to the wait for OROP. But the MoD has confirmed that the process has been expedited and will soon be taken forward for cabinet approval. The OROP will cost the government by nearly 8500 crore.

 Joint Chief of Staff

       Be it novels or movies concerning the west bloc armies, the office of JCS (Joint Chief of Staff) would have surely cropped up. The JCS is an integral part of many nations and is considered one of the supreme authorities in the military commands. The JAC main function is to get all three forces under one roof, unlike other nations Indian chiefs report to the CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) even on defense related matters. 

    The process of getting clearance from the CCS is cumbersome and the functionality can be limited to a great extend since every single official on the committee has to be in attendance before any minute decisions are made. The functionality of the forces can be hindered, with them reporting to the CCS. Any major retaliation or counter operations would require the clearance of the CCS, and this can be very cumbersome. But with the setting up of JCS the decision can be taken at very short time. 

     The main boost for the operations will be the decisions made by battle hard soldiers and not single handily by top bureaucrats. India’s nuclear arsenal launch and strike capability is catered to by SFC (Strategic Force Command). To launch an N-capable missile the SFC would require permission from the CCS and the launch can be ordered only by the PM. But during this phase the clearance through the CCS can be time consuming, but with the JCS office in place the decision can be fast tracked and can give us the much needed time for a second strike capability. MoD has shown interests in setting up a JCS at the earliest, the JCS will be one of the top commanders from either of the wings of the armed forces.

FDI in Defense

A very notable effort of the NDA was increasing the FDI in defence from 26% to 49%. Several rules in procurement process were also made flexible for fastened procurement. But the economic experts think the 49% FDI won’t be of much help. Even after the introduction of this FDI rules a very limited investment has been witnessed in the public-private sectors. 

    The government has been successful in keeping the ‘ Make in India’ mantra ringing, the finest example is the TATA- Airbus tie up to co-produce C295 aircrafts signalling the first private partnership. The Dassault Rafale deal was altogether put down and an G-G deal was worked out for securing off the shelf Rafale’s. 

Very limited participation has been witnessed in the defense sector. But in a positive trend the government has been approached by various private companies for flourishing in the promising defence sector. Experts feel increasing the FDI to 74% would be really helpful and can attract newer technologies and deals.

Editor Karthik Kakoor

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