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Rajnath proposes new defence finance department, says it will be backbone of a strong state-of-the-art military

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the three-day international conference on defence finance and economics in New Delhi on Wednesday (Image courtesy: Ministry of Defence)

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday asserted the need for establishing a specialised agency that will be dedicated to defence finance and economics for the army, navy, air force, defence research organisations, etc. Currently, the work is being done by the Defence Accounts Department under the leadership of the Financial Advisor (Defence Services).

Terming a robust defence finance system as the backbone of a strong military, Singh, who inaugurated a three-day international conference on defence finance and economics in New Delhi, also stressed on the need to devise innovative methods to maximise the value of money spent on the security needs of the country.

Organised by the finance division of the Ministry of Defence, the three-day conference will witness the participation of eminent policymakers, academics and government officials from India and abroad, including from the USA, UK, Japan, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Kenya. It will provide a platform for them to share their insights and experiences on defence finance and economics in the context of evolving security challenges and policies globally.

The defence minister also stressed that the rule of competitive bidding through open tender must be followed in defence procurement to maximise the value of money spent.

“In the case of procurement of defence platforms/equipment, either under capital or revenue route, the gold standard of Open Tender should be adopted to the extent possible. A competitive bid-based procurement process, which is open to all, is the best possible way to realise the full value of the public money being spent. There would be some rare cases when it may not be possible to go for an open tender process. Such instances should come under exceptions and exceptions should not become the rule,” said Singh.

He emphasised that while the Armed Forces require a superstructure of defence ecosystem, involving R&D organisations, industries, soldier welfare organisations, etc., they also need a well-funded system with a robust architecture to ensure the optimum and judicious use of financial resources.

Unsurprisingly, the conference will brainstorm topics such as efficient use of resources and state-of-the-art logisitics. It will also consider best practices related to defence acquisitions by studying different models being used across the globe.

Putting forth the idea of shared security before the international delegates, Singh said “In the spirit of collective security of the whole world as one family, we are all partners in the path towards a secure and prosperous future for the entire humankind. We have a lot to learn from your experiences in the field of defence finance and economics and we are ready to share our learning with you”.

Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande, Secretary (Ex-Servicemen Welfare) Vijoy Kumar Singh, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D & Chairman DRDO Dr Samir V Kamat, Financial Advisor (Defence Services) Rasika Chaube, Additional CGDAs Praveen Kumar and SG Dastidar and delegates from within in the country and abroad were also present on the occasion.