Task force to select firms for strategic partnerships: Parrikar

New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) The defence ministry has formed a task force to select private firms as strategic partners in six areas of defence manufacturing under the ‘Make in India’ drive, which means replacement of the usual system of issuing tenders and selecting the lowest bidder.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, speaking on the sidelines of a seminar at industrial chamber Ficci, said the high-level task force was constituted earlier this week under the chairmanship of former Defence Research and Development Organisation chief V.K. Aatre and it will present its first report in three weeks.

“The sectors will include manufacturing of submarines, fighter aircraft, helicopters, UAVs, missiles, and electronic surveillance equipment,” Parrikar told reporters.

Parrikar said one or two private players would be selected for each sector, so the overall number of players may not exceed a dozen.

“The task force will have experts from all fields. They will develop a policy for selecting suitable partners for these projects,” he said.

The minister said the normal process of issuing tenders takes longer, and there are chances that those selected after the process may not be able to meet the requirements.

“Instead of asking for tendering and all those things, a process of selecting a right partner is chosen. If you select through L1 (lowest bidder), you may end up with someone who is not capable. My aspect of success is capability of that partner,” Parrikar said.

The minister also said there would not be any repetition of players in the six strategic manufacturing areas.

“There won’t be repetition. If an X group has been taken in as a strategic partner in one segment, it will not be considered for another segment. It can participate in partnership for other products.”

“In three weeks they will come with first report… on formulating the guidelines,” he added.

These projects which come under the scope of the panel include aircraft, warships, armoured fighting vehicles, complex missile systems, command and control networks and critical materials.

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