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New govt policy on ‘representatives’ for arms purchase, blacklisting

Resolving to end perennial delays in arms procurement, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said government will unveil a “clear-cut” policy next month on engaging “representatives” for arms purchase and announce fresh norms to blacklist erring firms.

Promising a raft of steps to speed up military procurement, Parrikar said blacklisting of defence suppliers to root out corruption was not the only solution and indicated going for heavy penalties against erring firms.

“We should be in a position to have a very clear cut policy by January on representatives and on blacklisting. What does blacklisting mean. How far we can take it forward,” Parrikar said.

India’s military procurements have been dogged by long delays and allegations of graft and many defence experts had suggested legalising “agents” for speedy purchase of military hardware.

On having “representatives”, he said they should have a very clear agreement with the Defence Ministry on their fees and there should be provisions of heavy penalty on violators.

The former Goa Chief Minister said having “representative” with a very clear method of payment and fees was a better solution to the defence forces than delaying the procurement procedures.
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