The 16th Lok Sabha is convening its final sitting today. The last day of the budget session has been turbulent enough that many-a-times, houses have to be adjourned responding to CAG report presented today.
The CAG report on the Rafale deal, tabled in the Rajya Sabha, says India saved 17.08 per cent money for the India Specific Enhancements while purchasing 36 Rafale aircraft from France, as compared to the 126 aircraft deal negotiated by the UPA government. Also, the delivery schedule of the first 18 Rafale aircraft is better than the one which was proposed in the 126 aircraft deal by five months.
The Performance Audit on “Capital Acquisition in Indian Air Force” found that the deal between India and France over the acquisition of 36 Rafale aircraft was at a cost of Rs 58,000 crore in April 2015.
The 140 pages report, where 30 are focussed on Rafale deal alone suggests that a Defence Ministry team in March 2015 had recommended scrapping of the 126 jet deal saying that Dassault Aviation was not the lowest bidder and EADS (European Aeronautic Defence & Space Company) was not fully compliant with the tender requirements.
The report looks at 11 deals (five from the UPA era and six from the NDA era) — all of which were signed between 2012 and 2017.
The CAG report has added that the flyaway price of the jet is the same as agreed in the 2007 by the UPA government.
According to the report, here’s the list of those components cheaper in the NDA deal and those cheaper in the UPA’s price
- a) Flyaway Aircraft Package: No variation
- b) Services, Products – Operational Support Equipment (OSE) & Technical Assitance, documentation, Programme management – NDA deal 4.77% cheaper
- c) India Specific Enhancement – NDA deal 17.08% cheaper
- d) Standards of preparation – No variation
- e) Engineering Support Package – NDA deal 6.54% more expensive
- f) Performance-based logistics – NDA deal 6.54% more expensive
- g) Tools, Testers & Ground Equipment (TTGE) – NDA deal 0.15% more expensive
- h) Weapons Package – NDA deal 1.05% cheaper
- i) Role Equipment – No variation
- j) Simulator & Simulator Training Aids Annual Maintenance – No variation
Union Minister Arun Jaitley reacted to the CAG report through a series of tweets saying that
“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. It cannot be that the Supreme Court is wrong, the CAG is wrong and only the dynasty is right. How does democracy punish those who consistently lied to the nation? The lies of ‘Mahajhootbandhan’ stand exposed by the CAG Report.”
Satyameva Jayate” – the truth shall prevail. The CAG Report on Rafale reaffirms the dictum.
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) February 13, 2019
Manish Tewari from the Congress responded on the CAG report, “I have not read the report but from what I have gathered, it is a very strange report. The CAG performs three kinds of audit. Perhaps this is the first report that has not gone into the pricing aspect. This report is not worth paper it is printed on.”
The Rafale multi-role fighter deal between India and France has become a sensational subject ahead of the 2019 elections, with Congress president Rahul Gandhi virtually going on a crusade to allege that the deal entails a ‘scam’. Both the parties, BJP and the Congress have been on loggerheads over alleged corruption in the deal and with election campaign intensifying the political heat, Rafale is sure to make a huge noise.
A Hectic last day
Wednesday marks the last day of the Budget session of Parliament. This also means that today marks the end of the 16th Lok Sabha ahead of the General Elections. The session, which began on February 1 with the presentation of the Union Budget by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, has seen 10 sittings each.
11 bills are likely to be tabled today in the Upper House. 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 House today. However, the government is trying to extend the Upper House sitting by a day or two to complete the legislative business which includes a discussion on the Budget and a few other bills.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will move The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, or the Triple Talaq Bill, that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government is keen to get parliamentary approval for.
In the Lok Sabha, some of the Bills listed include The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019, The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2018, and the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018.