“Due to insufficient funds available under temporary duty and permanent duty heads of Army officers, no TA/DA (travelling allowance), advances and claims can be processed till receipt of sufficient funds under the relevant heads. However, the facility for LTC (leave travel concession) will continue,” said the PCDA (officers). Under the defence ministry, the PCDA is entrusted with pre-audit and payment of pay and allowances and all claims of Army officers.
The notification predictably led to outrage in the Army, which has around 42,000 officers and almost 12 lakh soldiers. “It can potentially disrupt the Army’s day-to-day functioning. For instance, over 50% of officers on temporary duty at any given time have been tasked to attend courses, which are less than 180 days in duration, at different places,” said an officer.
The overall transportation and other expenses for all officers, JCOs (junior commissioned officers) and jawans is said to cost around Rs 4,000 crore per year. But PCDA was apparently given only Rs 3,200 crore, which has been exhausted in the run-up to the ongoing fiscal coming to an end on March 31.
“Some more money is being allocated to tide over the immediate crisis. But more will be required to meet all the requirements till the fiscal ends,” said an official. Incidentally, PCDA removed the notification from its website by Monday evening after the uproar in the armed forces.
A MoD official, in turn, said, “At times the funds allotted, based on envisaged expenditure, to a specific head falls short of the actual expenditure. The shortfalls are only temporary and are resolved routinely through reappropriations. Adequate funds are provided under all heads, including temporary and permanent duty heads.”