NEW DELHI: The 7th Pay Commission has decided that defence officers posted in peaceful locations will not get ration supply at their places. The officers would instead get a ration allowance of Rs 96 per day as part of their salary. The decision, which has created a lot of resentment in the Army, has been put into effect from July 1. Following recommendations of the three service chiefs after allegations of large-scale corruption in food supply in the armed forces, the government has done away with the British-era rule of distributing ration to its officers.
Several army officials on social media reacted sharply to the decision and claimed that the allowance amount is meagre. They argued that they will have to pay double tax, including GST, to purchase food items from the open market. So far, the practice was that defence officers including Army, Navy, and Air Force while in peace postings were supplied free ration, which included foodgrain, meat, fruits, vegetables, groceries, and even cooking means by the Army Supply Corps (ASC).
But with the arrest of several ASC officials, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has come down heavily on its procurement and distribution malpractices.
In its last audit report, CAG pointed out that 82 per cent of procurement was based on less than three quotations and 36 per cent based on single quotations that led to cost escalation. Army follows the 74-year-old system of procuring food items centrally and distributing it to its soldiers across the length and breadth of the country. ASC, which caters to Army’s ration requirements, is the centralised inter-service agency headed by the Director General of Supplies and Transport (DGST) functioning under Quartermaster General (QMG) at the HQ.
What's ailing the army
To cater to the needs of its 1.13 million soldiers, the Army spends over `1,500 crore annually for the procurement of dry and fresh ration, including rice, wheat, dal, sugar, tea, oil, tinned items, vegetables, fruits, meat and milk. But it was observed that more than 70 per cent of the allocated money for procurement goes into packaging, handling, and transportation.