To expedite military reforms, as suggested recently by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in times of severe recession generated by Covid-19, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) could do well to dust off a three-year-old management and services expert committee report.
Submitted to the MoD in 2017, the 200-odd-page report had recommended the establishment of a semi-independent body to streamline and accelerate materiel procurements for India’s continually postponed military modernisation. Located away from New Delhi’s security zone, where access to officials is controlled, its overall control, however, would remain with the MoD.
The report had advocated the establishment of a Defence Capability Acquisition Authority (DCAA) to manage all aspects of defence equipment acquisitions for all three services. It envisaged the intended authority with around 900 members to work outside the MoD, which, for decades, has been plagued by time-consuming procurement procedures, internecine rivalries and corruption scandals.