New Delhi, Sep 23 : The Indian Navy does not have adequate auxiliary vessels, landing platform docks, fleet tankers and cadet training ships, government’s financial watchdog, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said on Wednesday.
It also said that the navy is facing problems due to inordinate delays in the acquisition process and lack of expertise of defence public sector undertakings (PSUs).
The CAG’s audit report on Defence Services, Navy and Coast Guard was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.
In its performance audit on efficacy of auxiliary vessels — vessels designed to operate in support of combatant ships and other naval operations — in the Indian Navy, the government auditor stated that their strength was not increasing commensurately with the increase in the combat fleet.
“In fact, it was declining,” it said.
The planned targets for acquisition of auxiliary vessels could not be achieved due to inordinate delays in acquisition process, specifically, non-adherence to the prescribed timelines in conclusion of contracts, it said, pointing out that this was principally on account of lack of expertise of defence PSUs and non-assessment of capability of shipyards.
On assessment of landing platform dock (LPD), CAG stated that the existing capability of the LPD, which is used to transport troops, defence equipment, helicopters and vessels into a war zone, was found to be inadequate to meet requirements of amphibious and expeditionary operations.
The Indian Navy had decided to acquire this vital warfare ship in October 2010 at a cost of Rs 16,000 crore.
However, even after nine years, the contract has not been concluded.
“This was due to failure to fix a specified time frame for obtaining a Corporate Debt Restructuring exit certificate by one of the participating firms,” the report stated.
On fleet tankers, the CAG stated that due to the inadequate availability of fleet tankers, the Indian Navy was thus forced to hire ships from trade and these vessels are used for providing fuel, water, ammunition and stores to the fleet at sea.
The approval for acquisition of fleet tankers to a force level at a cost of Rs 9,045 crore was accorded in 2014. However, the contract was yet to be concluded till August 2019.
The CAG also stated that Indian Navy did not possess enough cadet training ships, and “therefore, converted normal fleet ships to training ships” but the “converted vessels, however, experienced severe limitations in operations”.
The contracts concluded (June 2011 and November 2012) for acquisition of three cadet training ships did not fructify and bank guarantees worth Rs 324.73 crore were yet to be encashed.
The audit also observed that there was loss due to irregular stepping-up of pay of sailors.
System-driven mass stepping-up of pay of 21,089 sailors was carried out by the Naval Pay Office between 2009 and 2011 by misinterpreting the rules and side-lining the relevant pre-audit checks.
“The wrong stepping-up of pay which was reverted in 2017 led to overpayment of at least Rs 22.70 crore. Incorrect fixation of pay and pension is not yet completely rectified,” it said.
It also stated that simulator and training aids were procured at a cost of Rs 120.66 crore in July 2015, and certain defects were noticed in the training aids but these were not rectified.
The training aids, therefore, could not be commissioned. Training was, therefore, imparted to pilots directly on Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers in live sortie flying mode, it said.
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