Army has now been empowered to procure 46 types of ammunition and spares for 10 different types of weapons systems.
The financial power vested, depending on the budgetary support available, to buy the complete range of weapons system may run upto to Rs 40,000 crore for the first part and thereafter on regular annual basis.
This is a very major financial decision in which the government has delegated the financial powers to the Army to directly procure critical weapons systems and military platforms to maintain combat readiness for short duration “intense wars”.
The move, aimed at filling the “voids” in the Army’s combat readiness, comes amid nearly a month-long standoff between the armies of India and China in the Dokalam area as well as heightened Indo-Pak tension along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to the decision by the government, the Vice Chief of Army has been given the “full” financial powers to procure ammunition and spares for 10 types of weapons systems and equipment. This has been possible only after a direct interaction between the military and the political decision maker. The non-specialists manning the MoD have been found to be grossly inefficient and wanting. A review carried out under the direct orders of the PM right after the Uri terrorist attack found that optimum level of “war stores” were just not being maintained.
According to the decision, the Vice Chief of the Army has also been empowered on a routine basis to review the optimum holding state and maintaining it on a recurring manner.
The official said the procedure will be part of revenue procurement of the Army for in-service equipment and weapons and it will not require going through numerous procurement stages which often cause in-ordinate delays.
Another proposal to allow the Army to procure 20 types of armament and 6 types of mines is also under consideration. The Army has been pressing the Raksha Mantri and the PM for ensuring speedy procurement of key military platforms citing evolving security challenges.