A recent CAG audit report on the ammunition management highlighted that army faces severe shortage in ammunition making it very difficult to fight even a short intense war. Explore the reasons for the shortage and suggest measures to overcome them.

A recent CAG audit report on the ammunition management highlighted that army faces severe shortage in ammunition making it very difficult to fight even a short intense war. Explore the reasons for the shortage and suggest measures to overcome them.
Approach:
  • Introduce with the CAG report which emphasised ammunition shortage
  • Explain the reasons for such shortage.
  • Suggest some measures to overcome them
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :
The recent CAG report highlighted the continuing shortage of ammunition in the army, mainly for artillery guns, tanks, air defence and certain infantry weapons and also pointed out that there has been no significant improvement in the availability of War Wastage Reserve (WWR) ammunition which is needed to fight a full-scale war. The CAG also said that 40% of ammunitions were at a critical level having stock of less than 10 days. This means that there is also shortage of ammunition to fight even a short intense war which usually lasts for 10 to 15 days.
Reasons For Such Shortage:
  • The CAG slammed the State-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) for critical deficiency in availability of ammunition to the Army.
  • There is not enough expertise within the Army in the field of weapon design and technology resulting in lack of meaningful inputs for the indigenous defence industry.
  • The Army remains rooted to the outdated policies of employing ‘generalists’ rather than ‘specialists’ to man the weapon procurement functions at Army headquarters.
  • Inefficiency and apparent lack of accountability of various organs of the defence ministry responsible, namely the DRDO, OFB and Defence Public Sector Units (DPSUs).
  • Private industry is not yet being provided a level playing field to compete fairly with the public sector. Consequently, the indigenous defence industry mostly based on the public sector is unable to provide items of desired quality in a timely manner causing huge cost overruns.
  • Inadequate Budgetary Support.
  • Inordinately delayed in acquisition of new equipment and upgradation of existing equipment.
Some measures to overcome shortages:
  • To hasten procurement, a recent decision by the government to give full financial powers to the vice chief of the Indian Army to procure ammunitions and spares for 10 types of weapons systems and equipment is welcome. The procedure will be part of revenue procurement of the army for in-service equipment and will bypass the combursome process for new procurement.
  • To aid the process of indigenous development, Army will need to place many specialists in procurement.
  • The new Strategic Partnership model between Indian private sector players and foreign defence manufactures for defence manufacturing in India is also expected to be key to India’s defence preparedness.
The Army will have to address the shortage quickly to be prepared to fight not only short intense war but also, if the need arises, to fight against two enemies at the same time.

Subjects : Current Affairs

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