Boost For Indian Defence Forces: Vice-Chiefs To Get Five Times More Financial Power, Courtesy Modi Government

Boost For Indian Defence Forces: Vice-Chiefs To Get Five Times More Financial Power, Courtesy Modi GovernmentDefence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Union Ministry of Defence has approved greater delegation of financial powers to the Vice-Chiefs of three services - army, navy and the air force. Now, the armed forces chiefs will be able to approve revenue procurements to the tune of Rs 500 crore, up five times from the previous limit of Rs 100 crore.

This decision is expected to improve the efficiency and speed with which small and mid-size defence deals are made. In turn, this will ‘augment the arms and ammunition reserves of the Armed Forces to enhance their operational preparedness.’

According to an internal report of the Ministry, ‘skewed decision-making process, lack of accountability and bureaucratic red-tape’ were some of the major reasons for the extreme delays in the arms procurement process. However, since coming to power in 2014, the Modi government has taken several decisions to simplify defence procurement. In 2016, it launched the Defence Procurement Procedure, 2016, (DPP)and then in September 2018, certain ambiguities with regard to the execution of repeat orders, management of foreign exchange fluctuations were removed.

However, the Indian Army has also highlighted shortage of funds as a cause of worry for the nation. In the recent budget (FY19), the country's defence budget shrank to a mere 1.6 per cent of the GDP, the lowest since the 1968 Indo-China war.