While campaigning for 2017 Gujrat election, Congress President raised the issue of Rafale deal to attack NDA the Modi led government. He repeated the allegations of price escalation and favoritism towards Reliance Defense Limited
Notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s verdict and CAG report, the Congress repeated its allegations of corruption against the government and continued to demand a (JPC) to probe the deal, saying that the Supreme Court was not the forum to decide the issue of such a sensitive defense contract. The Indian government promptly rejected the demand Congress questioned the court’s justification of selection of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defense as offsets partner in the deal. Now the question comes into mind why the need of JPC? What is JPC? What are the success rates of JPC? Why congresses force to go with JPC?
If any Member of Parliament wants to be investigated by the JPC, then the committee is formed for any case. The JPC is also called the Mini Parliament. If the Parliament it wants to investigate a matter, it is not possible for him because the total number of members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will be so high that it will not be possible to investigate. This is the reason that the committee is formed by giving representation to all parties on a proportionate basis. The committee has the right to call the relevant parties and call them a reply. This committee can also ask for a document from the government.
It is interesting that the intention of this committee to end the disputes usually ends with the dispute.
- Investigation of the Bofors cannon deal in 1987, the JPC was formed. Before the report was prepared, the opposition boycotted it.
- Harshad Mehta Stock Market scandal, Formation of JPC in 1992. The recommendations of this JPC could not be fully implemented.
- Ketan Parekh Share Market Scam, Formation of JPC in 2001. This JPC recommended a change in stock market regulation.
- Soft Drink Pesticide Case, JPC was formed in 2003.
- 2G Spectrum scam, Formation of JPC in 2011 there is a dispute going on for this committee of 30 members.
- VVIP helicopter scam: Preparations are on in the form of JPC on this matter.
After the above discussion in Congress needs to clarify to a nation that is the JPC credential is more reliable than the Supreme Court for the long pending and important deal? Or Congress misguides the Nation!
Let’s understand the deal…
The Dassault Rafale fighter was selected in the MMRCA tender in 2012 by the Congress led UPA Govt. Initially, the deal consisted of India buying 18 Rafale off the shelf and assembles another 108 Rafale in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for around $12 Billion. Dassault had agreed to the deal but wanted two separate contracts. One for 18 Rafale, which were brought directly from France, while other for 108 Rafale assembled at HAL.
The Indian Government wanted Dassault to take the full guarantee of quality of the Rafale fighters assembled at HAL, while Dassault was not ready for it. Dassault expressed that it was not sure that HAL was capable of assembling complex fighters like Rafale. Indian Govt. Led by UPA coalition was not ready to accept two separate contracts for the same deal. The deal was struck as neither Indian Govt. Nor Dassault was ready to accept the terms.
The deal negotiated by UPA Govt. It consisted of 126 Rafale fighters. Dassault was willing to invest 50% offset in ventures with Indian firms. There was no mention of weapons package, training costs, supplies and logistics. The UPA Govt may have to sign another deal for weapons and supplies.
In 2014, in the Indian General Elections, the UPA coalition lost by a landslide to the NDA coalition led by Modi. The deal was again back on track and was again stuck at the same point, was Dassault not willing to take the guarantee of fighters assembled at HAL.
To break the standoff, Indian Govt now led by NDA, cancelled the MMRCA tender and bought 36 Rafale off the shelf, whose guarantee was completely accepted by Dassault. The deal was signed in 2016. It includes-
- 36 Rafale fighters.
- MICA Missiles.
- Meteor Missiles.
- Full weapons packages.
- Performance-based logistics.
- 14 India-specific enhancements and associated supplies.
The deal comes with a 50% offset clause which means Dassault will invest 50% of the deal price in a joint venture with Reliance Defense. A manufacturing plant to produce parts of Rafale is being set up by Reliance and Dassault in Nagpur.
Since, in the MMRCA tender, the requirement was of 126 fighters and Indian Govt bought only 36, there was still a requirement of 90 fighters. To procure these 90 fighters, Indian Govt started evaluating single engine fighters. The only contenders were Saab’s Gripen E and Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70/72. Both the fighters were rejected by India in 2018. India may now seem to be interested in procuring the indigenous fighter Tejas. The IAF has committed to buy around 324 Tejas fighters, which effectively ended hopes for any other foreign fighters trying to gain entry into the IAF in large numbers.
What CAG says:
Specification Cost dif.(in%) Who’s Better
Fly Away Aircraft Package 0 None
Services Product -4.77 NDA
Indian Specific enhancement -17.08 NDA
Engg support Package 06.54 UPA
Performance base logistic 06.54 UPA
Tools, equipment & testers 00.15 UPA
Weapons Package -1.05 NDA
Training (pilot& technician) 2.68 UPA