Three-fold hike in service chiefs` financial powers

AK Antony hiked the financial powers of the 3 armed forces HQs to allow purchases worth Rs 150 crore, triple increase from the existing limit.

New Delhi: Aiming to accelerate procurement process in the armed forces, Defence Minister AK Antony on Monday approved a three-fold hike- from Rs 50 crore to Rs 150 crore- in the financial powers of Service headquarters.

The decision was taken during a security review meeting with the three Service chiefs--Admiral Nirmal Verma, General VK Singh and Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne--during which the Defence Minister also had a detailed review of the current security situation.

Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma was also present in the meeting.

"To accelerate the process of procurement for the armed forces, the Defence Minister today gave his in-principle approval to a three-fold hike in the delegation of financial powers to Service headquarters--from the current Rs 50 crore to Rs 150 crore," a Defence Ministry spokesperson said.

Antony had agreed to provide more financial powers to the three services during the meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in April for speedier acquisition of arms and equipment.

Antony had also directed the three services to streamline their acquisition process and fix accountability in case of delays in procurement of critical equipment.

Recently, the Ministry has approved the 15-year Long Term Integrated Perspective Planning (LTIPP) and the 12th Defence Plan which would project requirements of the armed forces to be met through indigenisation and robust involvement of private sector. Along with the LTIPP, the 12th Defence Plan is aimed at putting forth the roadmap for development of capabilities of the three forces in tune with their future operational requirements and the role which the country will play within the region and outside.

Formulated over a period of two years, the LTIPP and Five Year Defence Plan will come into effect from this year and govern all the future development programmes of the three forces.

The Minister also reviewed the overall training and operational activities of the armed forces in the light of the present security situation in the country and the immediate neighborhood.