Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman came down hard on the Congress party during the debate on Rafale deal in Lok Sabha on Friday, saying that the previous UPA government did not do enough for the development and improvement of the state-owned aerospace and defence company HAL(Hindustan Aeronautics Limited).
Attacking the then UPA government for its inadequacy in improving the functioning of HAL, the Raksha Mantri said that the Congress shed 'crocodile tears' for HAL when the power is in the hands of NDA government.
"HAL produces the Tejas. The issues related to HAL was not new to the government then. In 2013, the standing committee says for HAL that they were not able to scale up faster, the government at that time chose to give waivers for non-performance of HAL, rather than looking at the condition of the PSU. In 2013, Government then instead of improving the conditions of HAL, has only given them waivers. How many waivers? Not one or two, but altogether 53 waivers and concessions. Which means you are accommodating all the weaknesses and problems of HAL - none of them you will address, but you will give them waivers. And cry crocodile tears when the government is ours. You did not do anything at that time. There is a list by the standing committee of the number of extensions that the UPA government gave for HAL, rather than improving their capacity, investing and improving their performances. If you were really interested in HAL, you would improve them and make them better," said Nirmala Sitharaman.
Later discussing the matter, the Defense Minister listed a number of things that the present NDA government procured for the better functioning of the HAL:
"I will give you the list of things we have done. Presently, following procurement orders are in the pipeline of HAL:
All of them put together totals to Rs. 1 lakh crores which we have given for HAL. Who go and sheds crocodile tears?"
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