Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Murli Manohar Joshi has said that there is a definite need for auditing unit-run Indian Army canteens due to their increasing turnover from Rs. 1.5 crore since the system began to Rs. 8600 crores till date.
Addressing a gathering, Joshi said that there was an urgent need to audit the revenue earned by the Unit-Run Canteens (URCs).
"We witnessed that when the system of Unit-Run Canteens exclusively for Army personnel, began, the turnover used to be Rs. 1.5 crore, however with time the turnover amounts to Rs. 8600 crore. So I think there is a definite need for auditing.
Senior Army officers felt that a large portion of the revenue is used for the betterment of Army soldiers, to which our committee said that would be taken care by the Parliament," he said.
"It is not apt to use a soldier''s money for his betterment. So, I think there should be an adequate auditing mechanism in place," he added.
He also pointed out inefficiencies of the procurement and distribution mechanism of food items to soldiers by the Army and termed it as a serious concern.
"Another issue that is important is the procedure of procuring and distributing food items (ration) to Army personnel. The committee thought that a lot of irregularities were taking place in its distribution in regard to its quality and quantity. We also found out that the personnel were receiving expired food items. This is extremely serious and we want to rectify this as well," said Joshi.
Statistics reveal that the Indian Army Service Corps (ASC) spends as much as Rs 1,440 crore (Rs. 14400 million) annually on procuring rations.
Joshi also noted that 74 percent of fresh vegetables and fruits given to units by supply depots defied approved norms.
He also added that the three services have accepted inefficiencies and promised to work towards rectifying errors.