Friday, August 21, 2009


A seminar on the IFA system in the Army was held on 25th of July, 2008 at Training Division, Brar Square, Delhi Cantt. The welcome address was delivered by Smt Bulbul Ghosh, IDAS, CGDA. Emphasizing the criticality of financial advice for exercise of delegated powers, she urged the IFAs to work on the twin objectives of faster decision making and value for money. She underlined that full time IFAs should be associated with all financial decision making processes and such integration alone would enable the IFAs to better understand and appreciate the requirements and concerns of the CFAs. She hoped that the deliberations in the seminar would go a long way in resolving many of the contentious issues which are coming in the way of smooth functioning of the IFA system.

The seminar was inaugurated by Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen M L Naidu, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC. He reminded all present that our only goal should be to ensure the development of the nation. Elaborating on the security matrix , he disclosed that military aspects formed only 16% of the matrix whereas other issues like energy, demography, social index etc. formed the major part of the matrix. Focusing on military aspects of the security matrix he emphasized that since capabilities can not be achieved overnight an immediate beginning needs to be made for modernization of services in order to achieve the status of a powerful nation by 2020. Having regard to the needs of the future generation, he stressed on sustainable development with ecological balance. He urged the IFAs to meet time schedules and get accustomed to working in a “collegiate mode”. Requesting all to focus on the bigger picture – 20 years from now he suggested that automation in audit can be of immense help.

The opening presentation titled “ Fine tuning the IFA system in the Army” was made by Shri Abhijit Basu, IDAS, PCDA (SC), Pune. “ It takes two to tango” was the phrase used by the PCDA to bring home the point of collaborative approach to achieve a “win-win “ position. Requesting for a change in perception, he emphasized that IFAs need to be looked upon as financial advisors rather than procurement advisors.

Presentations were also made by representatives of the Army HQr and Command HQrs . The MGO branch pointed out that excessive processing time was taken by the IFA and the delay was caused due to multiple vetting of proposals and minutes by the IFA and insufficient knowledge regarding technical instructions of AOC and its functioning in inventory management. They advised IFA to go in for short duration courses at CMM, Jabalpur and visit of IFA and staff to various depots for better understanding of the system.

The QMG branch while highlighting the dichotomy in accountability of IFAs underlined the need for a conflict resolution mechanism and requested the IFAs to have a feel of ground realities.

The Works directorate declared that since its needs differed from others its issues were also endemic to it. They pointed that involvement of more than one IFAs delayed their cases and lamented that observations, that too piecemeal, are raised on para 11 cases when they are being processed for getting administrative approval but by then the work has almost been executed.

The presentation on behalf of DCOAS (IS&T) highlighted compatibility and inter-operatability issues, insufficient availability of OEMs for core high tech equipment and their non-response to RFPs. They recommended streamlining of procedures to address the issue of policy interpretation disparities between IFA (Army) and Command IFAs /Regional Controllers, and assessing technology issues from operational point of view rather than financial yardsticks.

The open house co-ordinated by the then Addl. CGDA (IL) and Addl. CGDA DL marked the last session of the seminar. It was assured that consideration would be given to provisioning of dedicated/earmarked IFAs at Corps HQrs and Military Hospitals, subject to availability of manpower. Lt. Gen R K Gupta, DGST thanked the CGDA and the DAD for their support and the seminar which was an opportunity for clarification of a number of issues. Smt Anuradha Prasad, IDAS, the then Jt. CGDA (IFA) proposed the vote of thanks.

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