The Emergency Procurement Power (EP) was granted to India’s armed forces as an interim measure following the 2016 Uri attacks. This power allowed them to bypass the lengthy procurement process and quickly acquire essential equipment and technology.
EP Extended to All Three Services
- The EP was extended to all three branches of the military – the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
- In the case of the Army, it has been crucial in acquiring various equipment and technologies through approximately 140 schemes spread across four tranches (EP-I to IV).
Filling Critical Gaps
- EP has enabled the Army to address critical operational gaps in fields such as firepower, drone warfare, mobility, communication, and soldier protection.
Origin of EP
- EP was first introduced in 2016 after the Uri attack to expedite the procurement of necessary items, allowing services to sign contracts worth up to Rs 300 crore each independently.
- It was reintroduced in 2020 amid tensions along the India-China border, primarily to enhance security along the northern borders.
Key Upgrades Through EP
- EP has facilitated major upgrades, including remote-controlled weapon systems, air defense missiles, anti-tank missiles, communication systems, drones, counter-drone systems, and more.
Expenditure and Contracts
- The initial three tranches of EP saw the Army spend approximately Rs 6,500 crore and finalize 68 contracts.
- This expenditure covered modern weapons, equipment, ammunition, communication gear, surveillance equipment, drones, and mobility-enhancing equipment.
- In EP-IV, which ran from September 2022 to September 2023, the Army signed over 70 schemes worth nearly Rs 11,000 crore.
- These expenditures included projects for weapon systems, protective equipment, intelligence, surveillance, drones, and communication gear.
Domestic Industry Participation
- Approximately 50% of contracts in the first three tranches were awarded to domestic Indian industry.
- In EP-IV, all schemes, amounting to nearly Rs 11,000 crore, were contracted with Indian vendors.
Need for Institutionalization
- While EP has been vital for addressing immediate operational requirements, there is a need to institutionalize such a mechanism for the long term, ensuring the armed forces can efficiently acquire necessary equipment and technology when needed.
These developments highlight India’s efforts to modernize its armed forces and enhance national security through expedited procurement processes.