The Indian Army’s supply chain rations is once again under the scanner. An internal audit of the Army has by the Defence Accounts is alleging that the Army is over-procuring rations for at least two lakh non-existent soldiers, reports a CNN-IBN special investigation.
The Indian Army personnel have the option of drawing ration either in cash called ‘Ration Money Allowance’ or get cooked meals. Especially when officers and jawans go on leave or are unwell, they can avail this facility, which means the allowance gets directly credited into their salaries.
According to the report in 2010-11, nearly 10 lakh personnel took their ration in kind and not cash. This means they either ate cooked meals at messes or ate with families in peace areas. The audit also found that about Rs 670 crore was allocated as Ration Monthly Allowance, which at the rate of about Rs 46 per head per person translates to monthly allowance for 4 lakh personnel.
The total strength of the Army then adds up to 14 lakh, 2 lakh more than the actual strength.
The audit alleged that either more is being procured or more is being given as Ration Allowance.
The report does not end just there. It also criticises the tendering process and says that an Inventory System is needed.
The Army’s response, however, has been critical. They say suspicion that they are procuring in surplus and perhaps diverting funds is unfounded. At any point in time, they need to procure for 5/6th of the actual posted strength of troops.
Further, lack of vendors in remote/disturbed locations like Jammu and Kashmir and the North East means they need to rely on their own supply depots.
The Army’s response, experts say, has been predictable.
Allegations of malpractices and wastage in the supply chain of rations have come right from the Comptroller and Auditor General to the Public Accounts Committee, and this time, it has come from within.