The change in government in 2014 may not have brought Acche Din for corrupt politicians and officers. However, the soldiers in sensitive areas are very happy today. After an eight-year wait, 6 out of which were under the UPA regime; they finally got the bullet proof jackets.
The Indian Army had raised a requirement of over 3.5 Lakh for bullet proof jackets in 2009 itself. However, the UPA government had turned a blind eye towards it. Finally, the army floated a tender for 1.86 Lakh bullet proof jackets last October. However, they subsequently cancelled the tender as the samples of all 6 vendors were not matching the Army’s requirements. An approval from the government was sought, which the government gave in January.
— Amar Sable (@sable_amar) January 22, 2016
The Army placed the first order of 50,000 bullet proof jackets in March. Tata Advance Material Limited bagged order at Rs. 7,500/- apiece, amounting to 140 Crores. The first batch of 20,000 bullet proof jackets reached the Army stores today. This company has supplied bullet proof jackets to the Indian Army in the past, too!
The Tata Group Company manufactures its products indigenously. This is a boost to the Make in India initiative by PM Modi. The Ministry of Defence has aggressively expanded the defence procurements since the advent of this government. However, the government is not ready to compromise on its Make in India policy. Almost all new orders to foreign companies come with a “Make in India” precondition and an “offset” clause. This means that the companies will re invest a part of the profit back in India in the form of FDI.
The Army currently requires bullet proof jackets weighing less than 4 kg weight for better agility during low threat missions, such as local insurgents and Naxalite & Maoist terrorists. Further, high intensity missions require bullet proof jackets weighing close to 11.5 kg. There is a long list of small arms and safety equipment pending with the government. With the Modi Sarkaar in office, there is hope that these requirements will be fulfilled at the earliest.
To add to this, the Army’s R&D lab, the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), has developed bullet proof jackets with added safety features using new materials.