India's Government Auditor Slams Forces, State-Held Firms For Sloppy Work

By Arming India Correspondent

NEW DELHI: India's government auditor on Dec. 19, 2014 rapped the armed forces and the Defense Ministry for its sloppy, inconsistent purchase plans that hit military operations adversely and caused a cumulative unproductive spending of close to $1 billion from the state treasury.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in two reports presented to Parliament, slammed the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the national aircraft builder, Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), the missile producer, and Ordnance Factories, the battle tanks and guns manufacturer, for causing delays in projects, resulting in operational deficiencies of their products.

Here goes the top eight findings of the audit by CAG:

Intermediate Jet Trainer Delayed By 14 Years Already
Even 14 years after HAL conceptualized the development and supply of a trainer aircraft (Sitara) for intermediary training, it could not be provided to Indian Air Force (IAF), tampering Stage II training of pilots. Besides, the aircraft under development would be heavier compared to Indian Air Force (IAF) parameters which may affect training-related performance. Moreover, funds advanced to HAL to the extent of Rs.2,953.88 crore (Rs.29.54 Billion/$467 Million) against the contract of March 2010 remained un-utilized so far. Due to ambiguous contractual provision, IAF had made substantial second stage payment amounting to Rs.926.15 crore to HAL against nominal value of purchase orders valuing Rs. 6.04 crore.

Inordinate Delays In Arjun, T-90 Tanks Led To $800-Mn Import
Against the Defense Ministry's revised plan to induct 124 MBT Arjun in 2002-09, Ordnance Factories issued 119 MBT Arjun to the Army during 2004-13. The production of 300 indigenous T-90 tanks, scheduled for delivery in 2006-10 based on Transfer of Technology from Russia (2001), lagged behind with production of 225 T-90 and issue of only 167 T-90 tanks to the Army during 2009-13. Inordinate delays in production of both the tanks led to fresh import (November 2007) of T90 tanks worth Rs. 4,913 crore. While the progress of the project for augmentation of production capacity of T-90 tanks sanctioned in September 2011 was very slow, the existing facilities for MBT Arjun remained under-utilized in absence of further order of MBT Arjun from the Army.

Indian Air Force's Aerospace Safety Compromised
The prevention of aircraft accident is an increasingly important factor in maintenance of combat capability of IAF. Audit Report of 1998 highlighted the issues of high rate of aircraft accidents, lack of training and infrastructure, lack of flying experience and training equipment, technical defects attributed to deficient maintenance procedure and delay in finalization of investigation. Despite assurance given by the Defense Ministry to the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in Action Taken Note of September 2008, the CAG observed, between August 2013- December 2013, that these issues continued to persist. IAF lost 33 aircraft and 27 personnel during 2010-13 period. The percentage of accidents in fighter aircraft had increased. Technical defects and human error were the main causes of flying accidents. Due to non availability of basic trainer aircraft, intermediate jet trainer and full complement of advance jet trainer and simulators, training of pilots was compromised.

IAF's Recce Capability Hit By Lack Of Radar, EOIR Pods
A  Reconnaissance (Recce) system is used to collect intelligence data for operational needs. An aerial Recce system comprises Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) pods, Electro Optic/Infra Red (EO/IR) pods and Static/Mobile Ground Exploitation Stations (MGES).  Non procurement of adequate number of SAR and EO/IR pods coupled with incorrect allocation of four MGES imported (2009) at a cost of Rs.129.76 crore (Rs.1.3 Billion/$20 Million) resulted in their non-utilization for the intended purpose thereby affecting the Recce missions of IAF.

Unfruitful Investment In Torpedo Procurement
The Torpedo Advanced Light (TAL) contracted for Rs.99.60 crore from Bharat Dynamics Limited (M/s BDL) did not meet the envisaged Qualitative Requirements. Requisite airborne pre-setters remained under trials after four years of contract leading to inability of Indian Navy to operationally exploit these torpedoes, which led to unfruitful investment. Further, delay in conclusion of contract and delivery of the TAL led to inability of Navy to maintain minimum pool reserve. 

Unproductive Repair Of Ageing Sea Harrier Fleet
Due to continued un-serviceability of the Sea Harrier trainer aircraft (HR 654) for over seven years, the fleet continued to be robbed of spares even after having been earmarked for the built up. The procurement of deficient and robbed spares of Sea Harrier trainer aircraft (HR654) was abnormally delayed and various repairs were carried out on the Sea Harrier trainer aircraft between March and June 2012. Ultimately, Indian Navy decided to terminate the operations of Sea Harrier fleet in December 2012. This also indicates lack of futuristic planning in the Indian Navy. Thus, an expenditure of Rs.6.26 crore incurred on the aircraft has been rendered unfruitful in view of the impending phasing out (2015) of the aircraft.

Tatra Trucks Self-Reliance Project Defeated 
Defense public sector undertaking BEML signed a collaboration agreement for indigenisation of Tatra vehicles 28 years ago in 1986, with the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Omnipol and Tatra Sipox (UK), at the instance of the Ministry of Defense. The objective of  attaining 86 per cent indigenisation by 1991 was envisaged by BEML. However, till 2014 the target is yet to be attained. BEML attributed the delay mainly to the failure of Ministry in placing order for sufficient number of vehicles between 1986 and 1991. The process for indigenisation of Tatra vehicles suffered due to lack of clear long term projection of orders by Army to BEML. As a result, the objective of self-reliance in production of Tatra vehicles was defeated.

Chemical Warfare Agents Detector Defective 
The Ministry of Defense imported 999 number of Individual Chemical Agent Detectors (ICADs) worth Rs.27.32 crore between January 2010 and October 2010 for detecting the presence of chemical agents and toxic industrial compounds when military personnel are deployed in an area. Non-conducting of Field Evaluation Trials in conditions, where equipment is likely to be deployed as prescribed by Defense Procurement Procedure, had resulted in acceptance of defective ICADs. These equipment were awaiting replacement since August 2011 by the firm, Finland's Environics Oy, as of June 2014.



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