New Delhi: Aiming to enable quicker procurement of equipment for the armed forces, the government has increased five-fold defence minister A K Antony`s financial powers from existing Rs 100 crore to Rs 500 crore.
Also, Antony can approve defence purchases within his financial powers without having to take the proposals to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the highest decision- making body of the government on national security matters.
The orders in this regard came about yesterday after Finance Minister had supported the idea and mooted a proposal in this regard, Defence Ministry officials said here today.
Along with these powers for Antony, the Defence Ministry was also authorised to decide on defence procurement up to Rs 1,000 crore with concurrence from the Finance Ministry, they said.
With this decision, defence equipment that are valued over Rs 1,000 crore alone would be taken to the CCS for approval, they added.
These financial powers to Antony are expected to hasten the process of defence procurements that will aid in the modernisation of the armed forces.
"The Finance Ministry backed the idea citing the need for quicker decision-making to help the modernisation of the armed forces at a much faster pace," officials said.
The proposal for enhancing the financial powers of Antony and the Defence Ministry as a whole was put forward by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee about a fortnight ago so that the Transaction of Business Rules could be adequately amended.
Following the increased financial powers for Antony, he is expected to delegate some of these authorisations down to the Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs, the officials said.
"The increase in the financial powers of the Services chiefs are currently being worked out and will be known in a week`s time," they added.