The Government of India has announced creation of a new position for the management and optimum utilization of the granted funds (currently worth Rs 2 lakh 50 thousand crore) for Defence. Accordingly, Shobhana Joshi has been appointed as Secretary for Defence Finance. She has been working as Senior Accountant in the Defense department.
Till date there have been 4 secretarial posts namely, Defence, Defense Production, Ex Servicemen Welfare and DRDO (Defense Research and Development Department). An officer of rank of Secretary has been heading all four departments. But now onwards there will an additional Secretarial position. Secretary for Defense Finance will be responsible for the optimum utilization of the funds that are granted to the Defence forces. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting this year’s Finance Budget, surprised all by avoiding any mention of the defense related expenses.
However still provision worth Rs 2 lakh 58 thousand 559 crore was made in the finance budget for defence related expenses. This does not include any expense related to the pension for the retired defence officers. The previous year’s Defense budget was Rs 2 lakh 46 thousand 727 crore. This has been increased by Rs 12 thousand crore. Apart from this for the pension for the retired defence officers, fund worth 88 thousand 332 crore have been provisioned.
As nation’s defense related challenges are increasing, the renovation process of defense systems is also speeding up. In such situation government is expecting to have the funds allotted for Defence to be managed and spent in accordance to its priorities. Hence the position of Secretary for Defence Finance has been created. This will also improve the transparency in the decision making process.
In past few months Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar has expediting defence decisions. Defence Minister has assured that the government is ready to take all appropriate steps from its side in this regards. Meanwhile the newly appointed first ever Secretary for Defense Finance – Shobhana Joshi is an officer of the 1979 batch of Indian Defence Accounts Services and has before handled several important responsibilities in her tenure.