Amit Cowshish is a former Financial Advisor (Acquisition), Ministry of Defence and presently a Distinguished Fellow with the Indian Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Click here for Detailed Profile
It is important to restore the functional self-sufficiency of the finance division of a ministry which handles 17-18 per cent of the total central government expenditure so that it could discharge its responsibilities without real or perceived pressures.
The basic challenge for defence economists is to demonstrate that there are other feasible ways of skinning the cat during budget formulation. But the challenge is also inextricably linked with the need for rationalisation of defence expenditure.
The objective of asking these question should be to elicit information that generates a well-informed debate on, and facilitates the result-oriented monitoring of, the MoD’s handling of matters related to the defence budget.
Budget is not just all about figures but also a statement of policy. The Defence Budget for 2017-18 contains no hint of any intention of the government to bring about a paradigm shift in the defence policy.
With some innovative thinking, on-line arrangements with suppliers, including the Canteen Stores Department, could reduce the cost of storage and distribution and, more importantly, help in maintaining a high satisfaction level among troops.