In the first week of March, several social media users posted a long message alleging that Congress-led United Progressive Alliance procured military shoes that cost ₹25000 per pair from Israel. As per the claim, the shoes were exported to Israel by a Jaipur-based manufacturer and their cost was ₹2200 per pair. But India used to buy the shoes from Israel and not directly from the Indian company. Former Defence Minister late Manohar Parrikar, who held the office from October 2014 to March 2017, spotted this transaction, the claim adds.
A shoe manufacturing company based in Jaipur makes shoes for Indian Army. But instead of selling it directly it used to export it to Israel. From where Indian Army purchase at about 10 times higher cost….. This practice was going on for decades. (1/5) pic.twitter.com/Szqtl9ho3g
— Jatin Makol (@JatinMakol) March 5, 2021
This hoax dates back to 2016. In 2017, ABP News debunked had the claim.
ABP News reporter Neeraj Rajput visited Bengaluru’s engineering regiment and found that the Indian Army has six types of shoes. Out of which only two — anti-mines shoes and Siachen boots — were exported.
- The most commonly used shoe is known as High Ankle DMS. Both soldiers and officers wear this shoe. The Indian Army issues these shoes to the former while the latter has to procure them. These are manufactured in India and cost about ₹1000.
- Canvas shoes, also known as the PT shoe, have two variants. The white ones are worn by JCO and officers while the brown ones are worn by the soldiers. These are manufactured in India as well.
- Snow boots used in icy terrain. These are rubber insulated boots that are also made in India
- Jungle boots worn by soldiers and officers. These are procured by the Ordnance Factory Board, a government agency under the control of the department of defence production, Ministry of Defence.
- Anti-mining boot, specialised footwear used in sandy mines. Their cost is about one lakh rupees. As per ABP, their contract was cancelled in 2008 and in 2013 renegotiations were started. As per a 2015 report in The Indian Express, Czech-based Zeman Technogroup SRO manufactured such boots for India.
- Siachen boots, a specialised boot shoe used in high altitude snowy terrain. They are procured from Italy and cost about ₹11,000. Prior to Italy, they were issued from Sweden.
In 2017, the Defence Ministry and government sources told ABP that the claim made in the viral message is baseless.
Gagan Chaturvedi, Dy. Director-General / Corporate Communications told Alt News that the Indian Army has seven types of non-specialised footwear:
- Boot High Ankle DVS
- Boot High Ankle DMS
- Boot High Ankle Dual Density
- PT Shoe
- Boot Multipurpose (SCME Item))
- Boot Snow (ECC Item)
- Jungle Boot
Chaturvedi added, “As per orders, OFB currently indents ‘Boot High Ankle DVS’ (view OFB catalogue) to the Indian Army. In the past, OFB has manufactured other boots. The boot in the viral image is not an OFB product.”
The boots in the viral image carry the text ‘Para Commando by Weather Proof Dehradun’. We compared it with the boot in the OFB catalogue and found that both are high ankle boots and look similar. Col Rajendra Bhaduri (Retd) told Alt News, “All high-ankle boots are similar except for their shoe sole type. For over a decade or so, a large number of indigenous manufactures have started manufacturing military equipment like shoes and belts. As a result, there might be multiple variations, with slight differences of these products including high ankle boots which are available in the market now.”
In 2016, The Times of India reported that Israel-based Noga Einat partnered with Kanpur-based Rahman Industries to manufacture military boots. As per Noga Einat’s website, the company is a major supplier to the Israel Defense Forces and has been in the business for seven decades. The website further states, “The company collaborates with the best manufactures in India.” The readers should note that it doesn’t supply shoes to the Indian Army.
To conclude, a five-year-old hoax that claimed UPA-government was involved in a scam related to Indian Army boots was revived. It was debunked in 2017 by ABP News, yet it continues to surface on the internet. Alt News independently authenticated that this claim is false. In December 2020, Alt News debunked a similar claim that alleged India used to import cloth for defence uniforms from countries like China.
The complete viral text can be read below:
A shoe manufacturing company based in Jaipur makes shoes for Indian Army. But instead of selling it directly it used to export it to Israel. From where Indian Army purchase at about 10 times higher cost….. This practice was going on for decades. When the then Def Minister Manohar Parrikar got to know of this he immediately called the CEO of that company, who revealed that earlier he used to sell it directly to Army but hefty “Cut” was demanded at each stage from tendering, approving samples, placing order, quality check, payment process and final payment… Which would take several months besides huge corruption money. So he started exporting it to an Israeli company. Mr Parrikar asked him to sell it directly again and assured that even if there is a single day delay or demand for cut at any stage just call him… As a result today we are getting same shoes for soldiers at ₹2200/ which UPA govt was buying at ₹25000+ per pair. No wonder desperate Congress would say Chowkidar Chor hai… Don’t believe me… File an RTI to know the truth. Nation is missing you Hon.