Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) may clear all its backlog by the end of December.

Addressing the 90th Annual General Meeting of FICCI, she also said that government will allocate more funds for defence research and development in next budget.

Sitharaman, after taking charge of the crucial ministry in September this year, had decided to hold meetings of the DAC every fortnight.

“I have made sure that the procurement meetings, acquisition council meetings are not held once in a quarter… In fact it has been a hectic time for ministry officials and without complaining they have been looking at everything that has been waiting for months,” she said.

“I maybe confident enough to say that by December 31, the Defence Acquisition Council would be on the top of it. In the sense, no more waiting list,” she added.

The minister however also clarified that it may not mean all proposals cleared will be immediately procured, as it will have to go through cost negotiations and other formalities.

“The attempt first is to clear the backlog…” she said adding that emphasis is on transparency and on taking decisions.

Sitharaman also said that wherever possible, the government has tried to devolve procurement powers.

About the shortcomings in research related to defence, she said: “It is no good to say we are seized of the matter but yes, we are seized of the matter. The fact is that this time there will be substantial allocation for R&D.”

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