New Delhi, May 28: With criticism mounting over delays in defence acquisitions, Defence Minister A.K. Antony Monday hiked the financial powers of the three armed forces headquarters to allow purchases worth Rs.150 crore ($30 million), a three-fold increase from the existing Rs.50 crore ($10 million) limit.
The decision was taken at a meeting Antony had with the army, navy and air force chiefs here during which there was a detailed review of the security situation, a defence ministry spokesperson said.
Antony also had a one-on-one meeting with General V.K. Singh for about 15 minutes ahead of his meeting with the service chiefs. The meeting comes three days after the army chief gave interviews to television channels where he targeted the government for allegedly planting stories in the media against him.
‘To accelerate the process of procurement for the armed forces, Defence Minister Antony today (Monday) gave his in principle approval to a three-fold hike in the delegation of financial powers to service headquarters from the current Rs.50 crore to Rs.150 crore,’ the spokesperson said.
Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, Army chief General V.K. Singh, Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne and Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma were present during the meeting.
The decision comes over two months after Gen. Singh wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over deficiencies in the defence preparedness of the army, and that letter got leaked to the media, causing a major uproar both inside and outside parliament.
Antony, in the meeting, also directed the three service chiefs to ‘explore more avenues’ for giving permanent commission to women in the armed forces.
‘Antony also h-ad one-on-one meeting with the army chief in the morning. The meeting lasted 15 minutes,’ the release said.