Lack of ammunition, Navy's safety and delayed projects ail Defence infra: CAG

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Critical deficiencies in ammunition, anti submarine warfare projects lagging behind time and lack of safety mechanism in the Navy are some of the glaring gaps in the country's defence readiness pointed out by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in different reports on Friday.

One of the most serious concerns raised by the apex audit body in the country was the poor quality and inadequate ammunition available with the Indian Army and this was observed despite the issue being highlighted in a previous report in 2015.

The report also said that ammunition depots with shortage of fire-fighting staff and equipment remained accident prone.

"No significant improvement took place in the critical deficiency in availability of ammunition and quality of ammunition supplied by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) since March 2013. Shortfall in meeting the production target by OFB continued," the CAG report on Defence Services -Army and Ordnance Factories tabled in Parliament on Friday said.

The report also pointed out that majority of the procurement cases initiated by Army between 2009 and 2013 was pending as of January 2017.

In another report on Defence Public Sector Undertakings the CAG slammed the Navy's Directorate of Naval Design (DND) for delay in Anti Sumbarine Warfare (ASW) since the design of the corvettes were amended 24 times.

"Against the 18 weapons and sensors to be installed on ASW Corvettes, Audit observed that the two ASW Corvettes delivered were not fitted with X weapon and sensor systems. Thus, ASW Corvettes could not perform to its full potential as envisaged.

MoD sanctioned Rs 331.27 crore for augmentation of infrastructure facilities for construction of ASW Corvettes since as per the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) Note of March 2003, it was felt that the existing infrastructure was considered to be grossly inadequate. The modernisation was completed in 2013-14 as against the scheduled completion of July 2009 and thus, the work of modernisation of shipyard as well as construction of corvettes were undertaken simultaneously, the CAG report stated.

In the third report related defence the CAG pointed highlighted lack of safety in Indian Navy's ships and submarines that were involved in 38 accidents between 2007-08 and 2015-16, adversely affecting the operational preparedness of the force.

The audit report on Navy and Coast Guard said that the Navy had no institutionalised framework to deal with safety since its inception.

The report added that a dedicated organisation for dealing with safety issues was setup by the Indian Navy in 2014. However, it awaits government's sanction.

The auditor said the loss of a ship and submarine adversely affects the operational preparedness of the Navy as acquisition of new ships and submarines takes more than eight to 10 years.

"It is, therefore, imperative that Navy maintains its assets free from accidents during peacetime evolutions.

Total expenditure of the Defence Services during the year 2015-16 was `2,43,534 crore. Navy spent `35,196 crore while Coast Guard spent `3,034 crore which constituted 14.45per cent and 1.25per cent respectively of the total Defence Expenditure.
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