Defence Minister Says Rs 1 Lakh Cr Orders For HAL, Rahul Gandhi Accuses Her Of Lying; Know The Truth
On January 4, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave a “point-by-point rebuttal” of the questions raised especially by the Opposition regarding the controversial Rafale deal. Nirmala Sitharaman while speaking in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing winter session, said that Rs 1 lakh crore worth of procurement orders are in the pipeline for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
He said, she said
Rahul Gandhi, to this, tweeted that the Defence Minister must place the documents showing Rs 1 Lakh Crore of government orders to HAL, or must resign. He indicated that Sitharaman lied.
When you tell one lie, you need to keep spinning out more lies, to cover up the first one.
In her eagerness to defend the PM's Rafale lie, the RM lied to Parliament.
Tomorrow, RM must place before Parliament documents showing 1 Lakh crore of Govt orders to HAL.
Or resign. pic.twitter.com/dYafyklH9o
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 6, 2019
Sitharaman then hit back at the Congress president, saying that HAL had signed contracts worth of Rs 26,570.8 crore between 2014 and 2018. Adding that contracts worth Rs 73,000 crore were in pipeline. “It’s a shame that the president of @INCIndia is misleading the nation.”
It's a shame that the president of @INCIndia is misleading the nation.
HAL has signed contracts worth Rs 26570.8 Cr (Between 2014 and 2018) and contracts worth Rs 73000 Cr are in the pipeline.
— Raksha Mantri (@DefenceMinIndia) January 6, 2019
Notably, Sitharaman in her speech too mentioned that the said procurement orders were in the pipeline, which means they are still in work, same can be heard in the video below (Watch between 35:15-36:11)
However, on condition of anonymity, senior management officials of HAL told The Times of India, “HAL is a listed company now. You are free to verify our order books, where you will find not a single rupee of the said Rs 1 lakh crore has come to HAL, since not a single order, as claimed has been signed till now. We have a responsibility to shareholders who cannot be led to believe we have orders when we don’t.”
Also HAL Employees’ Association general secretary Suryadevara Chandrashekhar said there have been no orders or advances. However, under the current regime, the only order placed is that of 73 advanced light helicopters.
HAL borrows Rs 1000 cr to pay salaries
For the first time, HAL borrowed funds to pay salaries to its employees. HAL borrowed an amount to the tunes Rs 1,000 crore as an overdraft. Confirming the same to The Times of India, HAL CMD R Madhavan said, “By March 31 we’ll have minus of Rs 6,000 crore, which becomes unsustainable. We can borrow for day-to-day work, but not for project purchases.”
Reportedly, the biggest reason behind this is that its largest customer, Indian Air Force has not paid up since September 2017. The IAF has paid only Rs 2000 crore of the Rs 14,500 crore worth of dues it owes to HAL. The Indian Army, Navy and the Coast Guard owe an additional amount of Rs 1,200 crore.
Data reveals that between 2003-04 to 2017-18 HAL’s cash balance has never been this bad.
What’s the truth?
Defence Minister is right in saying that the procurement orders worth Rs 1 Lakh crore are in the pipeline, but as pointed out by HAL sources and even from the tweet of Sitharaman, it is clear that orders worth Rs 73,000 crore are still not placed yet.
The Times of India reported that clearance by Defence Acquisition Council has been completed for some of the orders, no actual order has been placed yet.