NEW DELHI Former Home Minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh took charge as the Defence Minister at South Block on June 1 afternoon. His immediate challenge would be to get additional funds and the long-term challenge is to give momentum to the ambitious Make in India pitch in defence manufacturing, which has made little progress in the last five years while also ensuring that defence modernisation makes progress.
Rajnath Singh was given a brief presentation on the functioning of the MoD and all the four departments of the MoD namely department of defence, department of defence production, department of ex-serviceman welfare and department of research and development organization, Defence Ministry said in a statement.
Singh instructed the officers to prepare detailed presentations on all divisions and set time bound targets to achieve the desired outcome, the statement added.
Before taking charge Mr. Singh paid tributes at the National War Memorial. These fallen heroes represent the character of India who has a long history of courage, sacrifice and patriotism. I salute them for keeping India safe, he tweeted. Mr. Singh is the fifth Defence Minister since the NDA government came into power in 2014.
On May 31 evening, Shripad Yesso Naik took charge as Minister of State for Defence. Apart from Ministry of Defence, Mr. Naik will also serve as Minister of State (independent charge) in the Ministry of AYUSH.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the highest decision making body of the Ministry on procurements, was tentatively scheduled to meet in June with several big ticket deals lined up for approval. However, with the change of guard at South Block and Mr. Singh getting oriented to the functioning and developments in the Ministry over the next few weeks, it has to be seen when the first DAC meeting would be scheduled.