Friday, June 19, 2015

The problem faced by government in the defence sector

The problem faced by government in the defence sector can be summarized as below :-
1. The woes of the DRDO:
--the research and manufacturing capabilities of the DRDO are embarrassingly poor .
-- saddled by the problem of utterly slow bureaucracy and inordinate delays in decision making and progress of critical defence research programmes .
-- it is facing huge shortage of skilled manpower and infrastructure such as advance labs .
2.Slow and un-moving acquisition process : the defence acquistion process of critical millitary hardware has been
--distressingly slow and unresponsive to the need of the time ,locked motionless at the bureaucratic level in the defence ministry,worsened further by delayed supply of ordered military equipment and escalating costs than estimated before .
--no proper structure in India’s acquisition hierarchy that ‘owns’ the acquisition process.There are gaps in targets, responsibility and accountability.
3.the diplomatic efforts so far have been unable to persuade countries like the U.S to share and sell their cutting -edge technology.The upper cap of 49% in FDI in defence sector has been unable to generate sufficient enthusiasm and interest among major foreign defence players to share their technological knowhow .
4.lack of properly framed defence policy and likely hurdles in acquisition of land for defence purposes further complicates the problem.
Steps that needs to be taken:-
a)focusing more on indigenous defence technology development by appropriate funding of researches and hiring skilled manpower by DRDO and other state and private owned entities in defence .
b) the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) has to be urgently revamped to cut the bureaucratic steps to a bare minimum.
c)India’s acquisition process must become the enabler of an indigenous defence manufacturing base that delivers on quality, timeliness and capacity.
d)creating a structure that owns the acquisition process and has officers of all departments influencing defence indigenisation and must work under one head, who will oversee the process of drafting policy and implementation.

Increasing the number of work entitlement days from 100 to 150 in drought-hit districts

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is a scheme through which the government has tried to provide an alternate means of employment to the rural poor and thus alleviate rural distress due to under- or unemployment.
Increasing the number of work entitlement days from 100 to 150 in drought-hit districts would have the following effects -
1. Such a move would be a short-term measure and ensure that distress due to failed crops does not create insurmountable problems for the rural poor.
2. It would ensure that the people can fulfill their basic needs and do not resort to forced migration in search of jobs elsewhere.
3. However, just increasing the entitlement days is not the solution. The government needs to also ensure that work is generated to meet that entitlement. The average work provided was only 40 days in 2014-15.
4. The government must also focus on such works which will help to alleviate the problems faced by the people in the long term, thus the focus must be on water conservation efforts, and durable infrastructure for the villages.
5. The government must also ensure that the issue of delays in payments and leakages are also tackled. Given the vast coverage by the government under the Jan Dhan and Aadhar schemes, achieving this task should become progressively easier.
However, increasing the entitlement under MGNREGA should only be treated as a temporary measure, the government must also take steps for long term solutions -
1. Promotion of crop insurance schemes to ensure that the government to transfer some of the risk of a disaster from the government's balance sheets.
2. Development of disaster management plan with well defined 'trigger points'. This would ensure that any future such calamity will be speedily tackled.
3. Generation of well paying jobs in the manufacturing sector to reduce the pressure on agriculture.
Thus, while increasing the entitlements would have a positive impact in the short run, the government must also keep focus on ensuring the mitigation of the problem in the long run