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Procurement delays hitting armed forces' operational readiness: Par Panel

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NEW DELHI (PTI): The delay in the procurement process has adversely "impacted" operational preparedness of armed forces and has proved "disadvantageous" to the interest of the forces, a Parliamentary panel report has stated.

"The committee notes that some of the critical shortages and vintage of equipment include artillery guns, infantry weapons, sights and fire control and engineering equipment, air defence equipment and armoured recovery vehicles.

"The reasons given by the Ministry (of Defence) for the shortage are inadequate production capacities of ordinance factories, defence public sector undertakings as well as procurement process delays," the Standing Committee on Defence said in its report on Monday.

"The committee are of the view that delay in the procurement process has adversely impacted Operational Preparedness of the services, and has also proved disadvantageous to the interest of the forces, which ultimately lead to the obsolescence of equipment in the Army," the report said.

Noting that the Committee failed to understand the reasons of holding vintage equipment with the forces for such a long time as with each passing year vintage equipment degenerates, it said, "this makes availability of ammunition as well as spares difficult to find from the original equipment maker (OEM) sources."

"Thus non-accessibility to ammunition and spares may sometimes lead to dangerous situation at the time of urgent necessity like war," the report stated.

The committee recommended that the critical shortages should be made up at the earliest and the proclivity of passing the buck to Ordinance Factories/Defence Public Sector Undertakings should be "stopped".

"An action plan for capital acquisition should also be drawn to make the army a fighting fit force," the panel said.

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