In news- Recently, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh released a compendium of 20 reforms undertaken by the MoD (Ministry of Defence) in the past 1 year.
About the reforms-
The compilation provides a brief overview of defence reforms undertaken in the year 2020 by MoD to bring about greater cohesion and modernisation of the Armed Forces through policy changes, innovation and digital transformation.
- Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) & Department of Military Affairs (DMA) – The post of CDS was created to increase efficiency & coordination among the Armed Forces and reduce duplication, while DMA was established to ensure improved civil-military integration.
- Atma Nirbharta in Defence – To promote ‘Make in India’ in defence sector, a list of 101 defence items was notified in August 2020, while Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 was unveiled in September 2020. Rs 52,000 crore budget was earmarked for indigenously made defence equipment in 2020-21.
- Increased Defence Exports – The value of total defence exports rose from Rs 1,941 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 9,116 crore in 2019-20. For the first time, India figured in the list of defence equipment exporting nations, as the exports expanded to more than 84 countries.
- Modernisation & increased transparency in Defence Acquisition – The DRDO Procurement Manual was revised in October 2020. To encourage start-ups, a provision was introduced for procurement as Buy Indian-IDDM, and leasing for non-mission critical requirements was introduced for the first time.
- Defence Acquisitions – First five Rafale fighter aircraft arrived in India in July 2020 and several more since then, adding firepower to the arsenal of the Indian Air Force.
- Reforming Defence R&D – To promote innovation by young minds, five Young Scientists Laboratories of DRDO were launched in 2020 in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. DRDO has joined hands with the private sector in design & development.
- Digital Transformation – Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA) started online Pre-Delivery inspection in May 2020 to address security threats, while Armed Forces Tribunal began digital hearing for the first time in August 2020.
- Strengthening border infrastructure – World’s longest Atal tunnel above 10,000 feet, at Rohtang on the Leh-Manali Highway was inaugurated in October 2020. It provides all weather connectivity to the northern borders.
- Stree Shakti in Armed Forces – In 2020, ten streams of Indian Army were opened for giving Permanent Commission to Short Service Commission (SSC) Women officers, while women pilots of Indian Navy were operationalised for the first time. All Sainik Schools were thrown open for girl students from academic session 2020-21.
- Reforms in NCC – More than 1,075 schools/colleges in border and coastal areas were identified and the enrolment in NCC began in November 2020. It was decided to give preference to NCC cadets in employment in Central Armed Police Forces from May 2020.
- Aid to civil administration during COVID-19 – Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) provided all emergency support to tide over the situation. DRDO set up several hospitals to treat COVID patients and passed on technology expertise to manufacture ventilators, oxygen plants, medicines, test kits and PPE kits to the private sector for mass production.
- Help beyond boundaries – Indian Navy mounted eight relief missions during 2020-21. Besides evacuating stranded Indians from Iran, Sri Lanka and Maldives under Vande Bharat Mission, Indian Naval ships provided Covid-19 medical relief, including medicines and doctors, to five countries. INS Airavat provided 270 MT food aid to Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea struck by natural calamities.