Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the order will bring about operational efficiency

New Delhi: Armed forces have been given additional financial powers for revenue purchases in an order released by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today.

The order on Delegation of Financial Powers to Defence Services 2021 aims to empower field formations; focus on operational preparedness; promote ease of doing business and enhance jointness among services, a government statement said.

The Defence Minister described the new order as another big step in the series of defence reforms undertaken by the government. The new order, Mr Singh said, will not just overcome procedural delays, but also bring about greater decentralisation and operational efficiency.

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar and other senior officials were present on the occasion.

The last such enhancement at all levels for the defence services was done in 2016.

Under the new order, there will be a general enhancement of two times for Competent Financial Authorities and up to 5-10 times at field formations in certain schedules. New Competent Financial Authorities have also been added.

There will be a 10 per cent increase in delegated financial powers of vice-chief of services and up to a three-time increase in schedules related to indigenisation and R&D to achieve the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat, the statement said.

For indigenisation, Vice Chief can now allocate ₹ 13.75 crore, and Air Officer Commanding, Station Commander and Commandant ₹ 1.5 crore. Commandant, Aircraft and Systems Training Equipment ₹ 6 crore.

The new order also has an enabling provision for emergency financial powers to field formations below command level.

A new schedule on hiring of aircraft and associated equipment has been introduced for the Air Force. This includes hiring air to air refuelers. Under this, the Vice Chief can now allocate up to ₹ 200 crore and the Air Officer In Charge Maintenance and the Air Officer Commanding in Chief can allocate ₹ 100 crore.

For the Navy, powers for replenishment of disaster management bricks have been delegated to the Command level for immediate response to natural disasters. As part of this, the Vice Chief can now allocate ₹ 27.50 crore, the Controller of Logistics ₹ 7.5 crore, the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief ₹ 7.5 crore and Chief Staff Officer (Personnel And Administration) ₹ 2 crore.

The delegated financial powers of vice chiefs of the services have been increased by 10 per cent, subject to an overall ceiling of ₹ 500 crore.