Even as he juggles the conflicting demands of financial prudence and defence preparedness, Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has been told by top military commanders of the need to streamline defence procurement systems, senior military sources have told The Hindu.
The Naresh Chandra committee on defence reforms, which submitted its classified recommendations to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2011, recommended that civil service bureaucrats be obliged to serve terms at the military service headquarters before being assigned to the Defence Ministry in New Delhi.
The committee headed by Mr. Chandra, a former Cabinet Secretary, also suggested that a course in the College of Defence Management in Secunderabad be made mandatory for civilian bureaucrats involved in defence administration.
In addition, the committee recommended making amendments to anti-corruption laws to protect officials making good-faith defence procurement decisions against prosecution. No decision was made on the committee’s recommendations.
“The current system is disastrous,” one naval officer said. “You have bureaucrats who don’t know the difference between a frigate and a destroyer making critical procurement decisions.”
The committee had also called on the armed forces to assign officers to the headquarters of each other to encourage the development of the joint services culture integral to modern warfare.