To ensure time-bound and speedy disposal of acquisition proposals, the ministry of defence (MoD) has decided to hold Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meetings on a fortnightly basis. The DAC meetings are headed by the defence minister and earlier used to be once a month or depending on the criticality of the agenda. According to an official release, special emphasis was laid by new defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the need to step up the pace of acquisition proposals. She has had a number of meetings with senior officials to get familiarised with the activities and functioning of the MoD and gave clear directions on critical issues.
A whole range of meetings has been scheduled with the three defence service chiefs to review defence preparedness and allied issues of strategic interests. Daily morning meetings with the three service chiefs and a separate daily meeting with the defence secretary have been formatted as a new practice for quick decision-making.
Other areas of focus would be settling all outstanding land-related issues for infrastructure projects and matters relating to welfare of defence personnel and their families, the release added.
Last week Nirmala took over as India’s first full-time woman defence minister, declaring that her priority would be modernisation, military preparedness and “big play” in ‘Make in India’ in production. “We will ensure that the important characters of what make ‘Make in India’ an important flagship programme for PM Modi are given full play for defence production. “It will be a priority for me to ensure the smooth and speedy implementation of defence deals and projects,” she had told media persons in a message after assuming charge, adding that it was important for the forces to get the best equipment and pay necessary to perform their duty.
“My priority will definitely be the armed forces’ preparedness. It is important that the Indian armed forces receive the attention in terms of giving them every endowment and equipment necessary for them to perform their duty with the best of equipment available,” she had said. Promising to address long-pending issues, she also said, “I will address all long-pending issues in consultation with the PM and the Cabinet.”