The government today gave its nod for the procurement of assault rifles and carbines worth Rs 3,547 crore to meet the immediate requirement of troops deployed on the borders on a “fast track basis”, the defence ministry said.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, cleared the procurement of 72,000 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines.
The procurement is expected to address the shortage of small arms for the armed forces.
Sources said that tenders will soon be floated to set the ball rolling for the procurement process. The procurement could also be done at the government to government (G to G) level.
To encourage participation of private sector in defence design and production and to give a boost to ‘Make in India’ programme, the DAC introduced significant changes in the ‘Make II’ category of the Defence Procurement Procedure, a defence ministry statement said.
The DAC also simplified the procedure to make it industry friendly, with minimal government control.
The revised procedure will now allow the defence ministry to accept suo motu proposals from the industry and also allow start-ups to develop equipment for the Indian Armed Forces.
The minimum qualification criteria to participate in ‘Make II’ projects has also been relaxed by removing conditions related to credit rating and reducing financial net worth criteria.
According to the earlier ‘Make II’ procedure, only two vendors were shortlisted to develop prototype equipment.
“Now, all vendors meeting the relaxed eligibility criteria will be allowed to participate in the prototype development process. The vendor will not be required to submit Detailed Project Report,” the statement said.
After accord of approval of the ‘Make II’ project by the council, all clearances will be accorded at Service HQ (SHQ) level, it added.