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Parliament LIVE updates: Improvement of a month in delivery schedule of 2016 contract vs 2007, finds CAG report – Firstpost

Parliament LATEST updates: Addressing his last Lok Sabha speech before the election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi and said that in 5 years of governance, no quake managed to get through. In 2016, Rahul famously said that if he were allowed to speak in Parliament there would be an earthquake.

In Lok Sabha, veteran Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav issued a statement which could make the Opposition’s attempt to stitch in a Mahagathbandhan to challenge the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. “I hope Narendra Modi returns as Prime Minister,” he said, triggering an instant thumping of desks from the treasury benches.

The auditor has found that four of the Indian specific enhancements were not needed at all because in the technical evaluation of 2010, the IAF had pointed out these were not needed. However, they got included in the scope, despite IAF making several attempts to reduce these items, the report says.

The CAG report states that the ministry needs to revisit the entire process of acquisition, to weed out redundant activities and simplify the process. The acquisition wing, headed by the DG (Acquisition) was envisaged as an integrated defence organisation. In reality, this has perhaps not happened, with the bulk of the acquisition-related activities still carried out in the Services’ Headquarters; which is not unexpected and is needed.

The CAG report mentions that the model used for calculating the life cycle cost of acquisition had several deficiencies and needs to be fine-tuned and improved further. It also notes that there were severe delays at various stages of the acquisition process.

The benchmark cost of the Rafale deal was 47 percent lower than the actual bid by the L1 vendor and the original request for proposal has been mentioned as unrealistic in the report. The report further says that this also led to the issue where man-hours required by HAL to manufacture in India were 2.7 times that suggested by Dassault Aviation, which led to a stall in negotiations then. Dassault also refused to take guarantee for planes manufactured at HAL.

The CAG report has said that as compared to UPA’s deal, the deal struck by NDA improved the delivery schedule of the Rafale fighter jets by a month. Also, the Indian Specific Enhancements got cheaper by 17.08% as compared to the agreement under the UPA government.

According to the CAG report, the overall capital acquisition system of the Rafale deal, as it exists, is unlikely to effectively support the IAF in its operational preparedness and modernisation.

The CAG report has said that the IAF did not define the ASQRs (Air Staff Qualitative Requirements) properly and as a result, none of the vendors could fully meet the ASQRs. ASQRs were changed repeatedly during the procurement process.

“Satyameva Jayate – the truth shall prevail. The CAG Report on Rafale reaffirms the dictum. 2016 vs 2007 terms – Lower price, faster delivery, better maintenance, lower escalation,” tweeted Jaitley after the CAG on Air Force deals was tabled in Rajya Sabha.

According to ANI, the CAG report, tabled before Rajya Sabha, says that compared to the 126 aircraft deal of the UPA, India managed to save 17.08% money for the India Specific Enhancements in the 36 Rafale contract done by the Modi government.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi gave a speech at the Congress’ parliamentary committee meeting on Wednesday, in which she attacked the Modi government for ‘weakening’ various institutions including the Parliament and called it an “unprecedented economic stress and social stain for the country”.

Due to ruckus over tabling of the CAG report on Rafale deal, Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 12 pm. The report is also scheduled to be tabled in the Lok Sabha.

The CAG report on Rafale deal was tabled in the Rajya Sabha. The report will include the performance audit details and a list of acquisitions made by the Indian Air Force, including the controversial Rafale deal.

Opposition MPs including members of TMC and TDP staged a protest outside the Parliament premises on Wednesday. Rahul Gandhi also joined the protests where legislators were also seen flying ‘paper planes’ to attack government against the Rafale deal.

As the Budget Session of the Parliament draws to a close on Wednesday, the 16th Lok Sabha will convene for its final sitting. The Lower House is expected to discuss and take up a Bill seeking to protect gullible investors from Ponzi schemes. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is also scheduled to be taken up for discussion and passage today.

However, all eyes will be on Rajya Sabha where two key bills — The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 — will lapse if not passed by the Upper House on Wednesday. The fate of these bills, which have been facing strong resistance from the Opposition and some of BJP’s own allies, would be a crucial test for the Modi government.

Narendra Modi addressing the Parliament on Thursday. Twitter@BJP4India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Twitter@BJP4India

While an ordinance is currently in force outlawing the practice of triple talaq, the government has the option of re-promulgation if the bill is not passed in this session. However, Congress has already said that it would scrap the bill if it is voted to power.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill will be moved in the Rajya Sabha by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The Opposition parties have demanded the Bill to be sent to the Select Committee of Parliament for further vetting. However, the Centre had rejected the demand.

Also, the much-awaited CAG report on Rafale deal will be presented before the Parliament on Wednesday. The report titled ‘Capital Acquisition in Indian Air Force’ will be presented by Junior Finance Minister P Radhakrishnan. The report will include the performance audit details and a list of acquisitions made by the Indian Air Force.

The report is expected to have the CAG’s findings on the Rafale deal over which the Congress and other Opposition parties have been attacking the BJP-led government.

On Tuesday, the Lok Sabha passed the Finance Bill, 2019 by a voice vote. Replying to the discussion on the bill, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal asserted that all the proposals in the bill are aimed at benefiting the middle classes and honest taxpayers. He appealed to the states to furnish data about farmers so that the income support under the PM-Kisan scheme is credited to their accounts at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the Congress staged a walk-out in Lok Sabha over the Rafale deal while Rajya Sabha faced adjournment following an uproar by Samajwadi Party members after party chief Akhilesh Yadav was allegedly stopped at Lucknow airport while on his way to Allahabad.

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