New Delhi: Minister of State for Defence, Rao Inderjit Singh on Thursday asked the armed forces to "prioritise" their requirements in view of the limited budget and also spend the allocated money efficiently.
"You should set priorities. While making the budget, instead of giving a wish list, you should give a priority list. Since we are developing country, we have to spend money on our other needs as well," Singh said.
He was speaking at the 268th Foundation Day Ceremony of the Defence Accounts Department, which also attended by Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar, air force chief Arup Raha, who is also the Chief of Staff Committee (COSC), Financial Advisor of Defence Services (FADS) Sudanshu Mohanty.
Singh said although the defence budget is around Rs 3.4 lakh crore, it is not being spent fully.
"Money should be utilised efficiently. If anything is available for Rs 10, it should not be procured at Rs 100 and that too without compromising on the quality and that too in a limited time frame," the minister said.
Singh also commended the role of the Defence Accounts Department for its sincere efforts in helping the Government to implement the long overdue One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme for ex-servicemen.
Raha said the money allocated in the budget is insufficient as compared to the demands and this can be observed across all government departments.
"The funds allocated in the budget is always insufficient. It is not only in armed forces but also in other government departments. Whenever we interact with the armed forces of developed countries, we hear the same thing from them... (that) the money allocated in the budget is insufficient for the procurements for sustaining operations.
"So it is not the question of how much (money) is there in the budget, but it is more important on how do we spend that money... Quickly, efficiently so that we get the best results. So my mantra is utlilise full allocation of budget in a stipulated time in the best possible way to get best results," the Air Force Chief said.
Raha also advised officials of Defence Accounts Department, which takes care of financial books of all Ministries, including the armed forces, to visit the field offices to get in touch with "ground realities". This will help them understand the problems faced by the armed forces in a better manner.
"I will advise the IFA (Integrated Financial Advice system) to travel a lot. Please travel in each and every unit in your area of responsibility. Please get acquainted there. See the issues, see the problems, know them well. If you know them and understand the ground reality that exist there then whenever a case comes to you...Unless you know the ground realities you will not appreciate fully.
"I would request the IFA and other functionaries to travel a lot and be conversant with the environment, appreciate the needs of the armed forces.
The Integrated Financial Advice system was introduced in various ministries after October 1975. The basic aim of the scheme is to expedite decision making by delegation of financial powers to the executive authorities which are to be exercised in consultation with the Integrated Financial Advisors to bring in the concept of authority with responsibility and accountability.
The IFA system was introduced in the Department of Defence Production in 1976 and in the Department of Defence in August 1983.
On this occasion as part of the 'Digital India' initiative of the Government, the Minister formally launched ePPO for Ex-Servicemen and a Handbook on delegation of powers to Integrated Financial Advisors (IFA).