M A I N   N E W S

A Tribune Exclusive
Storm brewing in MoD over appointment of part-timer
Swati Chaturvedi

New Delhi, September 25
A storm is brewing in the protected precincts of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as the Comptroller & Auditor-General has taken exception to the appointment of a Controller-General of Defence Accounts who is a non-IDAS official.

After the post meant to audit the Rs 83,000-crore defence budget of the Army, Navy, Air Force, DRDO, Ordnance Factory and Coast Guard lay vacant for a year and a half, the MoD appointed an Additional Secretary, Mr Ranjit Issar, on a part-time-basis (additional charge).

Sources reveal that the appointment was done without the requisite recommendation of the Departmental Promotion Committee chaired by the Chairman, Union Public Service Commission, nor has the appointment been cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

According to the recruitment rules, only an IDAS official holding “special secretary’’ level assignment within the department is eligible for this post. In addition to this IDAS officials who have put in two years of service in the grade of additional secretary are also eligible to hold the post.

Interestingly, the department has three officials of the “special secretary” rank and many others who fulfil the additional secretary criteria. Yet they were overlooked by the MoD, a point raised by the CAG.

Analysts say that the regulatory and auditory functions of the post are very important specially with a host of defence purchases valued at over Rs 50,000 crore on the anvil that the wisdom of farming it out as an additional charge is questionable.

Says a senior defence analyst: “The multiplicity and the complexity of the job is huge. It is shocking that the MoD is treating auditing — the crux of clean deals — in such a cavalier fashion.’’

Even the IDAS association has got into the act and a revolt is brewing in the over 25,000 strong cadre which passed a resolution last week asking Mr Pranab Mukherjee, the Defence Minister, to intervene and save the institution which has lasted since 1745.

The crux of their case is that the quality of audit - essential for the ministry with the biggest budgetary outlay — will suffer if served by an ad hoc official functioning for two hours a day. They have also appealed to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.

Sources say for things to come to such a pass in the MoD is unfortunate. The level of discipline is higher than many other ministries and grievances are not vented in public.

The correspondent, who is an anchor with SAB TV, regularly writes for The Tribune.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |