India Today, Updated: 29/12/2011
The PAC also claimed that the ration supply chain was in a mess after the CAG highlighted several discrepancies in the system and cartelisation of suppliers.
New Delhi: A parliamentary panel has come down heavily on the army for not allowing audit of the unit-run canteens (URCs) while taking serious note of malpractices in ration supply for the troops.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which had gone into the findings of the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) highlighting that the jawans were being fed food items past the expiry date, has given wide-ranging recommendations to streamline the supply chain management of rations in the Indian Army.
But the decision to not allow the URC audit was fiercely defended by army chief General V.K. Singh when he, along with senior defence ministry officials, appeared before the committee. There are 3,600 URCs in the country with a turnover of over Rs.8,500 crore.
The committee said it was "dismayed" to note that the audit was denied access to the URC records by the army headquarters in spite of repeated requests on the ground that the canteens were being run from a non public fund.
The panel stated that the army resisted attempts to get the URCs audited overlooking the defence ministry's directions. "We fail to understand how the URC audit will be so intrusive as to have an adverse impact on troop morale," it added. PAC chairman Murli Manohar Joshi said these facilities, running on government land and by government employees, should be audited. All the three services had opposed the move.
The PAC also claimed that the ration supply chain was in a mess after the CAG highlighted several discrepancies in the system and cartelisation of suppliers. The committee backed the CAG findings, saying 74 per cent of fresh vegetables and fruits issued were not in accordance with the prescribed norms. The troops were being supplied food items even after their expiry date.
The panel expressed surprise that these dry rations were consumed by troops even six to 28 months after the expiry date.
PAC smells scam in army canteens after audit denial
PAC finds widespread malpractices in Army rations
Posted by: A K SAXENA
DELHI | December 29, 2011
Corruption in Indian army canteens (URC) is an open secret. Let the Army Chief face the stark reality, not run away from it. Resisting URC scrutiny by the statutary Auditor by the army chief, raises strong suspicion against unethical practices. Transparency will boost the morale of the armed forces.
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