Antony for timely, transparent defence procurement
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Last Updated: Wednesday, May 12, 2010, 18:51
New Delhi: Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday called for a "timely, transparent and judicious" process to procure weapons and equipment for the armed forces.

Inaugurating the biennial three-day Defence Accounts Controllers Conference here, Antony said: "Defence expenditure and procurement issues are complex and time-consuming and have a direct bearing on our national security.

"We have tried to infuse more transparency and efficiency into our procedures and systems. It is my firm belief that expenditure of public money must have an appropriate system of checks and balances."

He said the Defence Accounts Department had facilitated procurement of essential items for the defence forces and the capital expenditure utilised last year had been an all-time record.

"But, there has to be a transparent, timely and judicious use of funds for defence expenditure. The Government has tried to infuse more transparency in the huge defence outlay, which is over Rs 1.52 lakh crore for the current financial year," he added.

Pointing out that there were complaints from ex-servicemen over disbursement of pensions, Antony called for early distribution of revised pension and arrears to them.

"Even now, I am getting a lot of complaints from people that they are not getting pensions... Considering the past, things have improved, but even then complaints are there still... You must take all steps possible so that they get their dues at the earliest," he said, asking the Defence Finance officials to expedite and further streamline the pension system for the armed forces personnel.

Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju, in his address, said pension adalats had become an effective mechanism for grievance redressal on the ground and expressed the hope that the pension arrears for pre-2006 personnel below officer rank (PBOR) would soon be disbursed.

He said the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (PCDA) would soon roll out an e-ticketing system for air travel by personnel.

The PCDA Rail Booking System for e-ticketing would be introduced in another 200 armed forces units by next month and all units would be covered by the year-end, Controller General of Defence Accounts Nita Kapoor added.

Defence Finance Secretary Indu Liberhan, in her address, stressed the need for continuing institutionalised interaction between her department and the three Services.

Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai said since Defence Finance related to a sensitive national security concern, the keyword for its success was the outcome and not simply accounting.

Others present on the occasion were Army Chief General V K Singh and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister V K Saraswat.


First Published: Wednesday, May 12, 2010, 18:51

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