Manish Tewari Speaks...
This particular workshop is happening at a very opportune moment of time when across the country for reasons other than the national debate, there has been a significant amount of focus on the question of defence preparedness and other allied/ related issues. It is also coming right after the standing committee had the opportunity to scrutinise the demands for grants of the Ministry of Defence and report back to the Parliament.
What I have been given to understand is that since this morning there have been deliberations and an attempt to see how as to how we can fix the whole procurement system. That fundamentally assumes that the procurement system as it stands today is perhaps broken. I do not subscribe to that point of view and the reason why I say is because in the standing committee defence we heard perspectives from the services, perspectives from the government and perspective of outside experts also, which led us to conclude and that part of it gets reflected in the report also, that there are institutional issues which possibly require a paradigm shift in the manner that we look at the question of equipping ourselves towards preparedness.
26 per cent FDI has also not brought in the players from the international spectrum primarily because of copyright and other issues which essentially as I have heard is their perspective which is holding them back.
It’s my personal view that the entire sector possibly needs to be classified into a couple of lists, those areas that are non-critical, possibly we can invite 100 per cent foreign investment should be allowed; in other areas which are possibly not in the non-critical areas where we can look at 49-50 per cent and those areas that are extremely crucial to our national security where we do not want that there should not be any outside participation, we shall keep it absolutely closed and say that these are areas that are exclusively reserved for not even the Indian private sector but for the entire public sector towards defence preparedness.
There is a feeling that it would require a considerable amount of political conviction to be able to usher in the sort of reforms in this sector.