New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled a White Paper on Indian Economy in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, which said in the UPA government, decision-making came to a standstill due to corruption and scandals in the defence sector, compromising security preparedness.
“The government delayed the acquisition of artillery and anti-aircraft guns, fighters, submarines, night fighting gear and a host of equipment upgrades,” the White Paper said.
“A security analyst wrote in 2010: ‘With arms inflation at 15 per cent per annum, a five-year delay means that India pays twice than what it should have. And when that equipment is obtained through government-to-government purchases and other single-vendor contracts, the cost is about 25 per cent more than what it would have been in competitive bidding. Conservatively estimating that delays afflict just half of the defence ministry’s Rs 50,000 crore procurement budget, India buys Rs 25,000 crore worth of weaponry for 125 per cent more than what it should have paid’,” it stated.
The White Paper also highlighted the Hawk aircraft purchase case which involved payment of “bribery” to unknown officials of the Ministry of Defence during 2003 to 2012, for procurement of aircraft from Rolls Royce Plc, UK.
“The case is under investigation,” stated the White Paper.
The paper also said that during the UPA regime, the Augusta Westland Helicopter scam occurred wherein kickbacks were paid for procurement of helicopters.
It added that the procurement of critical equipment for the defence sector, paramount for national security, was not prioritised by the UPA government.
“These have been emphasised by our government, under which the defence sector has received the attention it deserves. The procurement of fighter jets and the indigenous development of submarines are just two examples,” it said.