With no mention of defence outlay in the Budget 2016-17 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley many are raising questions as to why this year there has been no provision for defence.
It is interesting to note that Defence Minister has been in thick of many activities and has been replying to queries posed to him in the Parliament. Here are some questions that Mr. Manohar Parrikar answered to in recent times.
All weather roads by Border Roads Organisation:
Indian Army has identified 14 rail lines as Strategic Railway Lines. Two of them are in Leh-Ladakh region. Out of these two, Bilaspur-Mandi-Manali-Leh rail line has been prioritised for undertaking Final Location Survey (FLS).
Border Roads Organisation (BRO) constructs all weather dependable roads to provide connectivity up to international borders in a planned and phased manner. At present BRO has 40 roads of length 2970.62 Km under construction or up-gradation and additional 13 roads of length 282.49 Km under maintenance only to provide connectivity to the border areas in the Ladakh Region.
In addition to above, BRO is constructing Rohtang Tunnel in Himachal Pradesh to provide all weather road connectivity in the Ladakh Region. An operational committee in the Ministry of Railways has been constituted to monitor time line for FLS. For road networks various initiatives at functional level are undertaken by BRO to expedite the infrastructure development.
Latest equipments for soldiers posted at Siachen Glacier:
The soldiers deployed at Siachen glacier are provided special winter clothing including extreme cold climate clothing which includes trousers, jackets, gloves, sun glasses etc. to withstand extreme temperatures as per authorization. There is constant effort to provide better and more comfortable equipments to the troops based on requirement felt and user feedback.
Further, the soldiers deployed at Siachen are provided pre-fabricated insulated shelters (Fibre Reinforced Plastic) except at certain locations wherein due to terrain configuration and altitude, it is not possible to construct integrated shelters.
Management training for retiring defence personnel:
Approximately, 55,000 personnel retire annually from the armed forces. Government is providing training to the armed forces personnel before their retirement. The government provides 24 Weeks Management Courses at IIMs and other reputed B-Schools; Modular management courses like Project Finance, Academic Institutions, Supply Chain, Retail, Six Sigma, Seafaring etc.
Newly introduced courses from the government for the retiring defence personnel for 2015-16 were Strategic Retail Management, HRM, Facility, Transition, Export and Import, Event Management etc., Corporate Social Responsibility and Jet Transition.
Apart from the above mentioned training programmes at Institutes at least two courses are conducted every month at all the Regimental Centres to provide variety of courses to the retirees on pension drill. Indian Institutes of Management Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Indore are conducting 24 weeks Management Courses regularly for Armed Forces personnel, which help them in taking up employment at managerial levels.
Inking new defence deals:
During the year 2015-16, 44 contracts have been signed with value of Rs.39955.36 crore for capital procurement of defence equipment including helicopters, Radar, Rockets and Simulators. An MOU has been signed in January, 2016 with Government of French Republic for purchase of 36 Rafale Aircraft.
Capital Procurement of defence equipment is carried out as per the current Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP-2013) which gives priority to indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment by according higher preference to Indian vendors in procurement of defence equipment. The new DPP which will come into effect shortly will further promote indigenisation and self-reliance in defence through the public and private sector.
Disinvestment of defence public sector undertakings:
Government has approved disinvestment of the following defence sector CPSEs:
1. Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL): 5% paid-up equity of BEL out of Government of India's shareholding of 75.02 per cent, through Offer for Sale (OFS)
2. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL); 10% paid-up equity of HAL, through Initial Public Offer (IPO).
3. Strategic sale of Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) is not contemplated.