Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said central paramilitary forces did not get the priority they deserve in the procurement of weapons and equipment since it was done through the Defence Ministry.
“Procurement for CAPFs is done through the Defence Ministry, but the CAPFs don’t get the priority they deserve. This delays procurement of weapon and equipment (for CAPFs),” Rajnath Singh said and urged the new Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to look into the matter.
Rajnath Singh was speaking at an event to hand over indigenously made equipment to the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) by defence public sector undertakings. Sitharaman was also present on the occasion.
CAPFs under the Home Ministry are the Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, and Sashastra Seema Bal.
“I hope Nirmala ji will take a look at the issue as well. It leads to losses. Otherwise, we may need a different framework (for procurement),” the Minister said.
On Thursday, defence PSUs handed over to the CAPFs a consignment of indigenous equipment, including an armoured bus, bulletproof jackets, unmanned aerial vehicle and small arms.
The armoured bus, made by Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited, will be tested by the CAPFs in Jammu and Kashmir, where terrorists have in the past targeted convoys carrying soldiers.
The UAV, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), will be tried in Maoist-affected areas of Chhattisgarh, officials said.
“Terrorists target convoys in Jammu and Kashmir and the armoured vehicle will ensure there is lesser damage,” Rajnath Singh said.
The Home Minister said he hoped both the manufacturers and the end-users (CAPFs) will exchange notes on the defence products for their further improvement.
The bulletproof jacket, named ‘Bhabha Kavach’ made by Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited, weighs around 10 kg.
The Minister said there was scope to make it lighter.
“The bulletproof jacket can be made lighter… when I visited Jharkhand, the troops there said making their helmets lighter would be the biggest thing the Home Ministry could do for them,” Rajnath Singh said.
He said efforts should be made to make all products 100 per cent indigenous.
This was the first official event attended by Sitharaman after she assumed charge of the Defence Ministry.