After waiting for over 10 years, the soldiers of the Indian Army are all set to receive desperately needed bullet-proof jackets .
For this the army has signed a contract with Tata Advanced Materials Limited for obtaining the jackets under “emergency” provision.
For 50,000 bullet-proof jackets, the army will pay Rs 140 crore. The delivery of the jackets will start from August and must be completed by January 2017.
There is huge shortage of bullet-proof jackets in the 1.18-million strong Army and because of convoluted procurement procedures, a lot of delay happen in getting these vital security items.
Several parliamentary committees have reprimanded the government for not procuring these “‘critical” jackets.
After assuming office, Defence Manohar Parrikar had approved this “interim emergency acquisition” through the “revenue route.”
In October 2015, the government had to scrap a tender for modular bullet-proof jackets as the six vendors who had offered their jackets, “failed” the tests set by the army’s new GSQRs (technical parameters or general staff qualitative requirements). These jackets were supposed to sufficiently protect the head, neck, chest, groin and sides of the soldiers, while allowing them to move with greater agility.
The current deal for bullet-proof jackets is according to the older GSQR, and the rules were relaxed as “one-time exception” for fast-tracking their purchase.