The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has come down heavily on defence PSUs tasked with the responsibility of indigenous construction of naval warships in the performance audit for 2010.
“Till date, only one frigate of P17 has been commissioned against the expected 9 ships by August 2010…The delays are primarily due to delay in finalisation of structural drawings, timely availability of steel and inadequate infrastructure of the defence PSU shipyards.”
The three defence PSU shipyards are Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE) and Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL).
“CAG has been very correct in its assessment and its report is a very timely one. Defence PSUs have not been really concerned about market forces and competition. It is high time we take cognizance of it and devolve appropriate measures,” vice-admiral (retd) KK Nayyar, chairman, Forum for Strategic and Security Studies, told HT.
Painting a gloomy picture, the report predicted: “By 2012, the Indian Navy may retain only 61%, 44% and 20% of the envisaged force levels for frigates, destroyers and corvettes.”
“Productivity of Indian shipyards has fallen alarmingly behind global standards. Besides time and cost overruns, India is suffering immensely on the combat preparedness front,” said Commodore (retd) Uday Bhaskar, director, National Maritime Foundation.
Interestingly, the report also points out inclusion of non-admissible items leading to expenditure escalations. “MDL’s estimate for P15A towards yard effort, material and equipment included items such as mobile phones with sim cards, cordless telephones, Tata phones, procurement of enterprise boats, reimbursement of air and train fare etc at a cost of Rs. 10.88 crore.”