Fund crunch: Army officers denied TA/DA

Fund crunch: Army officers denied TA/DA

The Defence Ministry is currently unable to pay the TA/DA to Army officers due to paucity of funds, says a note from the ministry’s accounting branch.

“Due to insufficient funds under Temporary Duty and Permanent Duty heads of Army officers, no TA/DA advances and claims can be processed till receipt of sufficient funds under the relevant heads,” reads the note issued by the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Officers) Pune.

Officials said that PCDA annually required nearly Rs 4,000 crore to take care of transport and other expenses for the officers, JCOs and soldiers. This year, however, it received only Rs 3,200 crore resulting in the shortfall.

With the PCDA note upsetting the Army and triggering angry reactions from veterans on social media, the Defence Ministry on Tuesday issued a clarification, pointing out that availability of money was never a problem.

“At times, the allocated funds, which are based on predicted or envisaged expenditure, may fall short of the actual expenditure,” said a Defence Ministry spokesperson.

“These shortfalls are only temporary and are resolved through routine reappropriations. Additional funds will be provided if necessity arises,” he said.

“The hype created is unnecessary and needs to be avoided by all concerned,” tweeted the spokesperson. The PCDA withdrew the note from the website late on Monday.

“Rather than any shortage of money, it is more of a case of two outfits under the MoD not being in sync,” observes an official.

This is not the first time the MoD was feeling the pinch. Nearly six months ago, the military contractors threatened to stall all defence construction work if their dues worth nearly Rs 1,600 crore were not cleared. Once the contractors went public, the ministry arranged for some money and made partial payments.

Funds crunch was cited as the reason by the Military Engineering Service while ordering suspension of some of the infrastructure-related work last October. Subsequently, the MES received part of its dues.

The Defence Ministry had a budgetary allocation of Rs 2.98 lakh crore last year, which has been enhanced to Rs 3.18 lakh crore this year. But a bulk of it is spent on salary and pension bills.