Major shake up being given to Defence Ministry: Nirmala Sitharaman

NEW DELHI: A "shake up" is being given to the defence ministry to speed up various acquisition projects, ensure transparency and clear backlogs for key programmes, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said.In an address at a industry chamber, she also said the government is seriously examining functioning of around 39 ordnance factories and possible ways to boost their productivity including through joining of hands by the private sector.She said the efforts are on to ensure that the defence acquisition council (DAC) clears all the backlog relating to various procurement by December 31, emphasising that speeding up of decision making process has been one of her focus areas.The DAC is defence ministry's highest decision making body on procurement. "There is a sense of making sure that every aspect of this large ministry is given a shake up," Sitharaman said, adding the aim is to make a difference so that the ministry, which was sort of a cocooned, do things in a faster and transparent way.On various acquisition projects, she said, "I may be confident enough to say that by December 31, at least DAC would be on the top of it in the sense that no more waiting list would be with me." She was addressing a FICCI event.Sitharaman, who assumed charge of the ministry in September, also said ensuring transparency is a major priority area for her. "The biggest compliance issue which we are definitely 100 per cent following is to have greater transparency, put everything in the public domain and make sure that every decision stands up to the principle of accountability," she said.Her comments came in the backdrop of the Congress accusing the government of flouting laid down norms in sealing a deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.The party had recently raised several questions about the deal including the rates, and accused the government of compromising national interest and security while promoting "crony capitalism" and causing a loss to the public exchequer. "We are planning to tell them about the requirement of the armed forces for the next 40-50 years so that they can lay a roadmap for their capacity building," she said.She also said start-ups in the defence sector will be given encouragement.

December 14, 2017 16:07 UTC


Major shake up being given to defence ministry: Sitharaman

NEW DELHI: A "shakeup" is being given to the defence ministry to speed up various acquisition projects, ensure transparency and clear backlogs for key programmes, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday.In an address at a industry chamber, she also said the government is seriously examining functioning of around 39 ordnance factories and possible ways to boost their productivity including through joining of hands by the private sector.She said the efforts are on to ensure that the defence acquisition council (DAC) clears all the backlog relating to various procurements by December 31, emphasising that speeding up of decision making process has been one of her focus areas.The DAC is defence ministry's highest decision making body on procurement. "There is a sense of making sure that every aspect of this large ministry is given a shake up," Sitharaman said, adding the aim is to make a difference so that the ministry, which was sort of a cocooned, do things in a faster and transparent way.On various acquisition projects, she said, "I may be confident enough to say that by December 31, at least DAC would be on the top of it in the sense that no more waiting list would be with me." She was addressing a FICCI event.Sitharaman, who assumed charge of the ministry in September, also said ensuring transparency is a major priority area for her. "The biggest compliance issue which we are definitely 100 per cent following is to have greater transparency, put everything in the public domain and make sure that every decision stands up to the principle of accountability," she said.Her comments came in the backdrop of the Congress accusing the government of flouting laid down norms in sealing a deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.The party had recently raised several questions about the deal including the rates, and accused the government of compromising national interest and security while promoting "crony capitalism" and causing a loss to the public exchequer. "We are planning to tell them about the requirement of the armed forces for the next 40-50 years so that they can lay a roadmap for their capacity building," she said.She also said start-ups in the defence sector will be given encouragement.

December 14, 2017 15:56 UTC


2006 Malegaon blasts: Why ATS, CBI and NIA reached different conclusions, asks HC

"How can the conclusions of the NIA be so different from that of competent probe agencies such as the CBI and the state ATS? When the ATS and CBI charged nine men for their role in the case, then how did the NIA arrive at the conclusion that both probes were wrong, and then named a new set of persons as accused?" the bench said.The bench was hearing petitions filed by the Maharashtra government and the four accused challenging the discharge of the nine men booked earlier.The accused -- Manohar Narwaria, Rajendra Chaudhary, Dhan Singh and Lokesh Sharma -- have also challenged an order of the trial court rejecting their bail applications.Soon after the blasts in Malegaon, a town in north Maharashtra with a sizeable Muslim population, the state ATS arrested Noorul Huda, Raees Ahmed, Salman Farsi, Farogh Magdumi, Shaikh Mohammed Ali, Asif Khan, Mohammed Zahid, Abrar Ahmed and Shabbir Masiullah Batteriwala.However, in April last year, a special court in Mumbai discharged them from the case, as the NIA submitted that it had found no evidence against them. The probe revealed that a Hindu extremist organisation was behind the blast, it said.The ATS moved the HC against the trial court's order, terming it as contrary to the evidence on record. Assistant Public Prosecutor Mankunwar Deshmukh, ATS counsel, told the HC that the special court order had "no legal basis".

December 14, 2017 15:22 UTC


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