|Vivek Rae with AK Antony (File photo)|
simplifying the procurement policy. Rae was chief secretary in Andaman & Nicobar Islands when he was asked to join as DG (Acquisition) in October, 2010. Eight months prior to Rae’s joining in defence ministry, the now controversial Rs 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal with AgustaWestland, UK was already concluded. But by then, many a South block honcho felt that India needed to emphasize on indigenization for which corporate India could be roped in for design, development and production.
Rae was DG (Acquisition) for two years before moving as secretary to the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) and then to the petroleum ministry.
The defence production policy, prepared by Rae and his team made it clear that wherever the required arms and ammunition are possible to be made by Indian industry within the required time-lines, the procurement would be made from indigenous sources. It was also added in the document that the time taken in the procurement and delivery from foreign sources vis-a-vis the time required for making it in the country will be examined according to the defence procurement procedure before deciding to proceed with procurement from foreign sources. This was an important step in curtailing unnecessary import of defence products where presence of middlemen and bribery prevails.
The policy was also a catalyst to enhance potential of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for indigenisation.
A post graduate in economics, Rae had a short tenure in Prime Minister’s Office in 1989-90, and was on foreign assignments under UNDP between 1991 and 1995. He had also served as joint secretary in tourism and finance ministries.