New Delhi: The CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) report on 36 Rafale aircraft deal tabled by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday contained two volumes- one discussed systematic issues in the acquisition process and the other contained audit findings relating to the acquisition of Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft.

The second volume originally included the examination of prices in the deal, but was redacted over insistence by the Ministry of Defence citing the Indo-France Agreement of 2008 and the provisions of Inter Government Agreement (IGA), according to the press brief issued to the media. (Follow our live blog for all updates on CAG report)

However, the main highlight of the CAG report on Rafale fighter jet deal signed by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is its pricing. The 36 Rafale fighter jets deal was priced 2.86 per cent lower than what was negotiated by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

The report titled ‘Capital Acquisition in Indian Air Force’ was presented by junior finance minister P Radhakrishnan.

Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to address a press conference at 3:30 PM in New Delhi, presumably on the CAG report findings.

At the time of publishing, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die.

Wednesday is the last day of the Budget session of Parliament, which is the final session before Lok Sabha elections are held in April-May 2019.

Here are the top findings of the CAG report on the Rafale deal: 

  • COST EFFECTIVE: The CAG report, tabled before Rajya Sabha reads that compared to the 126 aircraft deal struck by the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA), India has managed to save nearly 17.08% in cost- that includes the India specific enhancements in the 36 Rafale fighter jets.
  • FASTER DELIVERY: The CAG report mentions that the delivery schedule of the first 18 Rafale aircraft, out of promised 36 in flyaway condition, is better than the one proposed under UPA’s 126 aircraft deal, by five months.
  • UPA DEAL UNDER LENS: The CAG report also mentions how a Defence Ministry team in March 2015 recommended that the 126 Rafale jets deals be scrapped, reasoning that the Dassault Aviation was not the lowest bidder then. In addition, EADS (European Aeronautic Defence & Space Company) was not fully compliant with the tender requirements.
  • UPA DEAL LACKED TECHNICAL NUANCES: CAG report reads that the Defence Ministry team in 2015 had said that the proposal of Dassault Aviation Rafale should have been rejected during the technical evaluation stage itself as it was non-compliant with RFP (request-for-proposal) requirements.
  • REMODEL LOWEST BIDDER METHOD: The CAG report said that the audit is of the view that the present ‘Lowest Price Technically Acceptable’ method of bid evaluation, wherein the contract is awarded to the lowest priced offer, needs reconstruction.  For procuring quality technical products- use of the best value method or a quantitative assessment method may ensure better value for money, it read.
  • IAF PULLED UP: The CAG report said that its audit noted that the Indian Air Force (IAF) did not define the ASQRs (Air Staff Qualitative Requirements) properly. As a result, none of the vendors could fully meet the ASQRs. ASQRs were changed repeatedly during the procurement process. It created difficulties during technical and price evaluation, and affected the integrity of competitive tendering.

Soon after the CAG report on the Rafale fighter jet deal with France, was tabled in the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday took a swipe at the Opposition parties saying that “truth shall prevail” and the report reaffirms the dictum.

“Satyameva Jayate – the truth shall prevail. The CAG Report on Rafale reaffirms the dictum,” he tweeted.

Jaitley, who returned from the US last week after medical treatment, said, “2016 versus 2007 terms – lower price, faster delivery, better maintenance, lower escalation.”