Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has refuted media reports claiming shortage of funds to procure Army uniform. Economic Times on Tuesday had reported that Indian Army has drastically cut down the supplies from state-owned Ordnance factories to ensure that the money saved from there could be used to procure stock for critical ammunition and spares for a short intense war. Referring to the article as ‘inadequately researched’, Defence Ministry clarified that the media report ‘misrepresented’ the decision of the 7th Pay Commission regarding purchase of uniform.
. @adgpi has made arrangements for purchase of quality cloth which will be made available through CSD outlets & stitching to be carried out under unit arrangements or any other means that individual jawans may wish to get their clothing stitched as per authorized specifications.
— Raksha Mantri (@DefenceMinIndia) June 7, 2018
Sitharaman said, that as per the 7th Pay Commission, the jawans should be given monetary compensation for the purchase of personal clothing items of the uniform which will be purchased under the agreement made by the Army. Which means, while earlier the jawans got uniforms from the army, they will now receive Rs. 10,000 per year to buy uniform on their own. They could buy material from authorized outlets and get them stitched according to authorized specifications.
In a statement, the Army said that these provisions are also applicable to Central Armed Police Forces, and hence it would be inappropriate to single out the Army. According to the ministry of finance office memo dated 2nd August 2017, the rules regarding supply of uniforms were changed, whereby various kinds of allowances regarding dress and maintenance were merged into one consolidated ‘Dress Allowance’ which is to be paid annually.
In fact, the reports regarding cutting down of supplies from Ordnance Factories (OF) is also misleading. Letter issued by the ministry of defence from April last year shows the true picture.
The letter states that as per recommendations of two committees, constituted for increasing operational efficiency for OF, the OF can now float open tenders to procure non-core items. Curtailing expenditure has got nothing to do with paucity of funds, but it is to improve quality by competitive bidding.
The misleading report was widely circulated by prominent leaders like Congress President Rahul Gandhi, taking a dig on Prime Minister Modi’s Make In India campaign.
MAKE (empty slogans and useless acronyms) IN INDIA….meanwhile, make our soldiers buy their own clothes & shoes. https://t.co/UaWqsIhnQx
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 5, 2018
Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, too, shared the misleading information multiple times.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) June 7, 2018
He even retweeted tweets by AAP supporter Dhruv Rathee, who is known for spreading unverified and fake news.
Kejriwal didn’t stop there. He even called those who ‘took the decision’, anti-national.
सरकार में बैठे जिन नेताओं ने ये निर्णय लिया है, वो राष्ट्र विरोधी हैं। https://t.co/Sxsfmq03i2
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) June 5, 2018
Not surprisingly, after being instrumental in spreading misleading news, none of them have issued the clarification.