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NEW DELHI :

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday approved the delegation of financial powers to the armed forces for revenue procurement in a bid to cut the delays in making crucial purchases to ensure operational preparedness and quickly meet requirements of the field formations. 

The defence ministry in a statement said the delegated financial powers of vice chiefs of the services have been increased by 10 % subject to an overall ceiling of 500 crore. 

It said the primary focus of the enhanced delegation of financial powers was to empower field commanders and other officials to procure equipment and "war-like stores" in a “speedy manner for urgent operational necessities and meeting essential sustenance requirements." 

A new schedule on the hiring of aircraft and associated equipment has also been introduced for the Indian Air Force which includes the hiring of air-to-air refuellers. 

Singh described Tuesday’s decision as "another big step towards defence reforms." 

"Another big step towards defence reforms has been to strengthen security infrastructure. Financial powers have been devolved to field formations with focus on operational preparedness; promote ease of doing business and jointness among Services," the minister said in a Twitter post.  

The defence ministry statement said the enhanced delegation of financial powers to officers in the service headquarters and lower formations would result in quicker decision-making at all levels and ensure better planning and operational preparedness. 

"A general enhancement of up to two times has been approved for the competent financial authorities (CFAs). In certain schedules, this enhancement at field formations is in the range of up to 5-10 times on account of operational requirements," the ministry said in its statement. 

The financial powers of Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs Of Staff Committee (CISC) as CFA has been enhanced substantially and aligned with that of the vice chiefs of the services, it said. 

"New CFAs have been added namely Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Master General Sustenance, ADG (Procurement)/DG Air Operations/DG Naval Operations, etc in service headquarters and in the field formations on account of reorganisation/restructuring/functional requirements," the statement said. 

New financial powers have been introduced for Navy and the Indian Air Force for their field commanders in line with the existing "Army schedule on 'Army Commanders Special Financial Powers,' " it said.  

"A new schedule on the hiring of aircraft and associated equipment has been introduced for Indian Air Force which includes the hiring of Air to Air re-fuellers," the ministry said. 

For the Indian Navy, powers for replenishment of disaster management equipment and materials have been delegated to the command level for immediate response to natural disasters and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations. 

The ministry said an enabling provision of emergency financial powers to the field formations below command level for the defence services has now been incorporated in the emergency powers schedule that till present was available to vice chiefs and C-in-Cs (Commanding-in-Chief) or equivalent officers. 

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