PM Modi lied about HAL's revenue in Lok Sabha?

Comptroller and Auditor General of India's report said that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited had incurred a loss of Rs 159 crore

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (Photo: NH Library)
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (Photo: NH Library)

NH Political Bureau

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while replying to the no-confidence motion in Parliament on Thursday, August 10 claimed that the revenue of the HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) — a government-owned company — has increased.

Mocking, Rahul Gandhi who visited HAL in the wake of the protest against the Rafale defence ‘scam’ in 2019, PM told Parliament, “They [Rahul Gandhi and Opposition] tried to incite the workers and spread negativity. But now HAL is flourishing. It has recorded its highest-ever revenue. HAL has now become the pride of the country”.

PM’s claim about the increased revenue of the HAL — that lost an offset contract worth Rs 30,000 crore in the Rafale defence deal — turned out to be another lie. The offset contract was given to Anil Ambani’s 12 days old company with zero experience in defence manufacturing.

Contradicting, Modi's claim, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) — a statutory body, also known as the supreme audit institution of India — in a recent report said that HAL has incurred a loss of Rs 159 crore due to delay in delivery.

“The expenditure of Rs 159.23 crore incurred as of March 2022 was impaired,” the auditors revealed.

Interestingly, the report was tabled in the Parliament on the same day when the PM delivered his speech but he did not mention a word about the report. Instead, he lied about the ‘increased’ revenue of HAL.

It is hard to believe that the PM or his office was not aware of the CAG report. Notably, the parliamentary standing committee on defence had also come down heavy on HAL for the inordinate delay of Tejas fighter jet production.

The delay resulted in a loss, concluded CAG.

Highlighting deep flaws such as “incorrect assessment of the required thrust and lack of clarity on the availability of A-Type Engine leading to improper engine selection which in turn had a cascading effect on the D&D process of Project 2 (engine)” CAG pointed out that improper planning in the initial stages of the development process, led to a delay of more than 20 years in the project that was initiated in July 1999.

“No business plan was drawn up either before embarking upon the project or during the progress of the project so as to ensure Recovery of Investment. As there was no firm commitment for Aircraft 1, the entire expenditure incurred amounting to Rs 153.98 crore was impaired,” it said.

Saying that HAL took up the possible An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) ‘Project 3’ without seeking specific requirements from potential customers, CAG noted, “Despite incurring an expenditure of Rs 9.54 crore, Project 3 was not feasible for Defence security applications and therefore HAL could not penetrate the market in an emerging UAV industry.”

CAG report also flagged a “half-hearted approach witnessed” in HAL, which culminated in a wasteful expenditure of Rs 21.31 crore. But the PM did not mention any of these flaws. Instead, lied about the 'increased revenue' of the HAL.  

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