The Defence Acquisition Council on 16 January 2017 cleared the procurement of 72,000 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines on a fast track basis to meet the immediate requirement of the troops deployed along the borders.
The procurement involves expenditure worth Rs 3,547 crore. The decision is expected to address the shortage of small arms for the armed forces.
The council headed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also introduced significant changes in the 'Make II' category of the Defence Procurement Procedure to encourage participation of private sector in defence design and production and to give a boost to 'Make in India' programme.
The DAC also simplified the Make-II procedure to make it industry-friendly, with minimal government control.The revised procedure will now allow the Defence Ministry to accept suo moto proposals from the industry and also allow start-ups to develop equipment for armed forces.
The minimum qualification criteria to participate in 'Make II' projects has also been relaxed by removing conditions related to credit rating and reducing financial net worth criteria.
According to the earlier 'Make II' procedure, only two vendors were shortlisted to develop prototype equipment. Now, all vendors meeting the relaxed eligibility criteria will be allowed to participate in the prototype development process. The vendor will not be required to submit Detailed Project Report.