Arms and the man

Arms and the man: The defence ministry needs a full-time minister to take Manohar Parrikar’s initiatives forward...

Excerpts:
"The bureaucracy may try to claw back to regain the ground lost under Parrikar. Parrikar had rubbed many officials the wrong way by creating a procurement policy that was both transparent and pragmatic. He realised that since middlemen were indispensable to deal-making, their commissions should be above board and their functions seen as an extension of the ministry’s operations. He relaxed the blacklisting rule (barring companies that had been indicted earlier for paying bribes) by excluding subsidiaries of tainted companies from their ambit. In doing so, he overcame the deal-freeze regime of AK Antony without, however, making compromises on transparency in the process. Parrikar’s successor should not disturb the institutional balance of power between the armed forces and the Government, which has been one of the strengths of our democracy. Concerns in this regard have arisen from time to time. A defence minister, besides being informed, clean and committed, should not overlook this aspect. "

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