Monday, November 28, 2022

Rajnath expounds on combat readiness

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said swift and transparent decision-making and availability of optimal resources were needed for a country’s combat readiness.
In his address at the Controllers’ Conference 2022 organised by the Defence Accounts Department (DAD) here, Singh also said a delay in making a decision leads to loss of both time and money, and affects combat readiness.
Resources around the world are limited, the defence minister said and stressed on exercising “financial prudence” in using them. Resources should be used at the right places and there should be no wastage, he added.
“A penny saved is a penny earned, and this applies fully to resources too. You are aware that for a country’s combat readiness, not only availability of optimal resources is required, but swift and transparent decision-making is also needed,” Singh said.
If there is a delay in decision-making, there may be some shortfall in combat readiness, the defence minister said.
The DAD handles the budget allocated to the Ministry of Defence, which translates into pay and allowances of personnel, payment to pensioners, processing of financial advice cases for various procurements and processing of first and third party claims, apart from other auxiliary activities, including internal audit function, the ministry said in a statement. In the Union Budget 2022-23, defence was allocated Rs 5.25 lakh crore, Singh said, adding that DAD officials should also tell if more expenditure is needed for anything.
The ministry in a statement later said the budgetary allocation included Rs 1.19 lakh crore for pensions.
Singh exhorted the DAD to ensure judicious use of financial resources through quick and transparent decision-making, terming it as the key to strengthen the combat readiness of the armed forces, the statement said. After inaugurating the two-day conference, he described the officials of the DAD as the sentinels of the defence finance system who play their part in nation building by managing the allotted funds with financial prudence.
“I am assured that the department by adopting the principles of financial prudence, will continue to play an important role in management of defence services,” he said.
In a light-hearted vein, Singh also that an auditor’s job in a finance system is that of a “watchdog, as in a sentinel”, but some auditors “start behaving like bloodhounds”.
The defence minister said that “though you are called controllers, but care should be taken to function with the mindset of a collaborator and not a controller”.
He stressed that domain expertise coupled with a sensitive understanding of client needs is essential for providing timely financial advice.
Singh asked them to keep themselves steadfast while interacting with clients, and cited the analogy of how a lotus despite being in water doesn’t get touched by it.
“Now, I am taking name of lotus, it may be objected by someone,” he said in a lighter vein.
Defence Minister Singh on Sunday had said the lotus is not just a party symbol but connected to India’s cultural identity, as he slammed those creating a controversy over the presence of the flower’s image on the G20 logo.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had unveiled the logo on November 8. The Opposition Congress had accused the BJP of promoting its poll symbol – lotus.
Singh laid special emphasis on ensuring timely payments to beneficiaries such as soldiers, pensioners and third parties.
He hoped that the session on ‘Public Finance Management: Towards a system of faceless transactions’ will pave the way for transparency in defence financial transactions.

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