Govt Re-iterates The Benefits Of The Rs 58,000 crore Rafale Fighter Jets Deal in Parliament
The induction of 36 Rafale aircraft will enhance the operational capabilities of the IAF. According to the Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre, the costs of the 36 aircraft cannot be directly compared to the cost of the original MMRCA bids since the deliverables are significantly different.
Although there is no Transfer of Technology (ToT) involved in the procurement of the 36 aircraft Rafale Fighter Jets, the provision for 50% offsets has been retained. The delivery schedule, maintenance arrangement and product support under the Inter-Governmental Agreement are also more beneficial.
Following the signing of an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) along with Aircraft & Weapons Package Supply Protocols and Technical Arrangement with the French Government on 23rd September, 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft in fly-away condition, the deliveries of the fighter jets will commence from September, 2019, Dr Subhash Bhamre had earlier informed the Lok Sabha on November 18, 2016.
The Rs 58,000 crore deal executed by India to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France is undoubtedly one the most well negotiated pacts and one that will bring along huge gains for the domestic aviation industry besides creating job openings for the people of India.
This deal is the first since the purchase of Sukhois from Russia in the late 90s and is considered a win-win for India, the most significant feature of this contract being the enhancements for India which even French aircrafts do not have.
In an exclusive chat with DefenceAviationPost.com soon after the signing of the deal, Union Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar said, “In any foreign deal, there are 3-4 things that have to be taken care of. First is the cost, which we have negotiated at a much lesser price than the earlier price being quoted by the French team.”
It is noteworthy to point here that the 7.878 billion Euros deal has been clinched at a price that is 750 million euros less than what was quoted by the French team in January 2016.
“Second is the percentage of offsets which in this case is much higher than any other foreign military sales so far. This creates a huge potential for the domestic aviation industry and is in line with the Prime Minister’s Make in India initiative,” the minister said.
It may be mentioned here that deal comes with a 50% offset clause which means that Indian companies will get businesses worth over 3 billion euros or Rs 22,500 crores.
Parrikar said the most significant feature of this contract are the enhancements for India which even French aircrafts do not have.
Firstly, these fighter jets come along with state-of-the-art missile weaponry profile that increases the strike capabilities of the IAF to a great extent. It includes Meteor Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile with a range in excess 150 kms. Then it also comes along with Scalp (Pointed Offence) which is a long range air to surface cruise missile with a range of over 300 kms.
Further, these fighter jets will be customised in line with the requirements of the IAF and will include Helmet Mounted Displays, radar warning receiver, infrared search and track among others.
“So from all directions it is a win-win deal for India. Rafale Fighter Jets is a potent aircraft and will add to the capability of the IAF,” the minister added.
Experts say that Rafale coming fitted with Meteors and Scalp will shake up Pakistan Air Force hugely and PLAAF (air warfare branch of China) to a fair extent.
They added that the enhancements negotiated under the deal for 36 Rafale means that India’s adversaries will need four modern fighter jets to counter one Rafale. Simply put, the enemy will need four Su30 or four F16D (latest acquired by Pakistan) or four JF17 (which again Pakistan has) to counter one Rafale with its existing capabilities.
“This 1:4 ratio will clearly give Indian an edge over its adversaries and the deal for 36 Rafale is equivalent to procuring 144 modern fighter jets,” an official said requesting anonymity.
Timelines is another major aspect of this deal. The deliveries of fighter jets will start in 36 months and completed in 18 months thereon.
Under the contract, the French manufacturer Dassault has to ensure that 75% of the fleet or 27 fighters are operationally available at any given time.
Govt Agencies Investigating Role Of London Based Arms Dealer In Defence Deals
As per the information received from CBI, a criminal case was registered by CBI against one Sudhir Chowdhrie and others in April 2007 in the matter of the award of the capital contract for upgunning of guns, in March, 2000. The CBI Report, inter-alia, indicates that the available evidence was insufficient to implicate the accused on the charges involving alleged payment of commission to the agents/middlemen.
CBI subsequently informed that after completing the investigation, a closure report was filed in the concerned Court on 29.09.2010 and the same was accepted on 10.08.2011. The Court has also directed the Enforcement Directorate to further investigate the matter.
Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply in Rajya Sabha on November 22 informed that the Government is aware of recent media reports alleging that Inter-alia, payments by defence vendors to various companies belonging to Sudhir Chowdhrie. This matter has been referred to the relevant agencies for investigation.
Import Value of Defence Equipments At Rs 29.2K crore for 2015-16 and Rs 72K crore in 2016-17 upto October 2016
During 2015-16, 17 contracts with value of Rs. 29171.75 crore have been signed with foreign vendors including those from USA, Russia, Israel, Sweden, UK and Germany for Capital procurement of Defence equipment such as rockets, simulators, aircraft, helicopters, ammunition and radars.
During the current financial year (upto October, 2016), 15 contracts with value of Rs. 71953.60 crore have been signed with foreign vendors including those from France, USA, Russia, Israel, UK, and Germany for Capital procurement of various Defence equipment including aircraft, missiles and ammunition.
Update On The 7th CPC Recommendation On Disability Pension Of Ex-Servicemen
Government on 30th September 2016 has issued detailed recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission relating to pensionary benefits of Defence Forces Personnel and the decisions taken thereon by the Government.
The 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) recommended the following on disability pension:-
The Commission is of the considered view that the regime implemented post VI CPC needs to be discontinued, and recommended a return to the slab based system. The slab rates for disability element for 100 percent disability would be as follows:
|Rank||Levels||Rate per month (INR)|
|Service Officers||10 and above||27000|
|Honorary Commissioned Officers|
|Subedar Major / Equivalents||6 to 9||17000|
|Subedar / Equivalents|
Subedar / Equivalents
|Havildar / Equivalents||5 And below||12000|
|Naik / Equivalents|
|Sepoy / Equivalents|
The above recommendation has been accepted with the approval of the Cabinet and Resolution dated 30.09.2016 issued accordingly. The 6th CPC dispensation of the calculation of disability element on percentage basis, however, continues for civil side which has resulted in an anomalous situation. The issue has accordingly been referred to the Anomaly Committee.
8000 Army Personnel Deployed In Foreign Countries
Indian Army personnel are deployed in United Nations Peacekeeping Missions as part of our national commitment to United Nations. Indian army personnel are also deployed as part of Indian Army Training Teams / Indian Military Training Teams in friendly foreign countries for the purpose of providing military training including training related to IT, Telecommunication, English Language, etc.
Further, to enhance defence cooperation, Indian Army personnel are also stationed on deputation in various countries as Military / Defence Attaches, etc., to Defence Wings of our Embassies / High Commissions. Presently over 8,000 army personnel are deployed for above purposes in various countries.
Update on Filling Of Vacancies In Armed Force Tribunal
The Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre informed the Rajya Sabha on Wenesday (November 22, 2016) that the Defence Ministry has initiated action as per provisions of AFT Act, 2007 to fill up all the existing and anticipated vacancies of Judicial Members upto 31.12.2016. Ministry takes action from time to time to fill up the vacancies expeditiously.
However, different Government Organizations / Departments are involved in the process of appointments of Members of Armed Forces Tribunal. Therefore, it is not possible to indicate a definite timeline.
Functioning of the Armed Forces Tribunal is distinct as it exclusively handles the matters of the Armed Forces of the Country arising out of specific Acts governing them. Armed Forces Tribunal has protection of Articles 227(4) and 136(2) of the Constitution and thus Armed Forces Tribunal stands on a different footing as compared to any other Tribunal.
Deficiencies In Functioning Of ECHS
The Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre informed the Rajya Sabha on Wenesday (November 22, 2016) that corrective steps taken / being taken to overcome the shortcomings / deficiencies include outsourcing of pharmacy, authorization of local chemists, enhancement of financial power of Officer in-charge of ECHS polyclinic to obviate the shortage of medicines, processing of medical bills of all 28 Regional Centres on-line as per rules, appropriate use of ECHS funds by the service hospitals, adherence to the terms and conditions of Memorandum of Agreement by the empanelled hospitals, recruitment of the manpower in ECHS polyclinics, de-duplication of ECHS smart cards etc.
There is a system of audit for quality of medicines supplied to ECHS polyclinics. Government has taken steps to correct the circulation of excess ECHS cards. An exercise was carried out to identify the ineligible dependents in 2014. This has led to a reduction of approx. 1.6 lakh cards of dependants who have become ineligible and beneficiaries who have passed away being removed from the total list of beneficiaries. Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) recommendation for New ECHS Smart Cards has been accepted by the competent authority. The new smart card system will ensure that duplicate cards get eliminated.
Welfare Measures For Families Of Martyred Soldiers
The Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre on November 22, 2016 shared with the Rajya Sabha the details regarding educational concessions, healthcare and other facilities for children of martyred soldiers is as under:
Educational Concessions: The following educational concessions are provided to the Children of Armed Forces Officers / Personnel Below Officer Ranks, Missing / Disabled / Killed in action:
The above educational concessions are admissible only for undertaking studies in Government / Government aided schools / educational institutes, Military / Sainik Schools and other Schools or colleges recognized by the Central or State Governments including the autonomous organizations financed entirely by the Central / State Governments. Reimbursement of Children Education Allowance (CEA) shall have no nexus with the performance of the child in his / her class. In other words, even if a child fails in a particular class, the re-imbursement of CEA shall not be stopped.
Healthcare: Central Organization, Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme provides for free healthcare to all dependents of martyred soldiers. The dependents of martyred soldiers are also exempted from payment of one time contribution for becoming ECHS members.
The wards of Defence / Coast Guard Personnel killed in action are the first priority for award of Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme under which 5500 Scholarships are awarded annually to the wards of ex-servicemen / widows in order to support their higher technical / professional education.
An institutionalized mechanism at all levels down to the unit at Services’ Hqrs. exists to ensure that families / dependents of martyred soldiers are provided with uniform and adequate financial assistance. Kendriya Sainik Board Secretariat, an attached office of Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare implements other facilities / welfare measures for ex-servicemen including martyred soldiers.