Antony for timely, transparent defence procurement

Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday called for a "timely, transparent and judicious" process to procure weapons and equipment for the armed forces.

Last Updated: May 12, 2010, 18:51 PM IST

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

"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