The Government of India is responsible for ensuring the defence of India and every part thereof. The Supreme Command of the Armed Forces vests in the President. The responsibility for national defence rests with the Cabinet.
This is discharged through the Ministry of Defence, which provides the policy framework and wherewithal to the Armed Forces to discharge their responsibilities in the context of the defence of the country. The Raksha Mantri (Defence Minister) is the head of the Ministry of Defence.
The principal task of the Defence Ministry is to obtain policy directions of the Government on all defence and security related matters and communicate them for implementation to the Services Headquarters, Inter-Services Organisations, Production Establishments and Research and Development Organisations. It is also required to ensure effective implementation of the Government's policy directions and the execution of approved programmes within the allocated resources. Ministry of Defence comprises of five Departments viz. Department of Defence (DOD), Department of Military Affairs (DMA), Department of Defence Production (DDP), Department of Defence Research & Development (DDR&D) and Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare. There is also a Finance Division headed by a Secretary.
A Military Department was created in the Supreme Government of the East India Company at Kolkata into the year 1776, having the main function to sift and record orders relating to the Army issued by various Departments of the Govt of East India Co. The Military Department initially functioned as a branch of the Public Department and maintained a list of Army personnel.
With the Charter Act of 1833, the Secretariat of the Government of East India Company was reorganised into four Departments, including a Military Department, each headed by a Secretary to the Government. The Army in the Presidencies of Bengal, Bombay & Madras functioned as respective Presidency Army till April 1895, when the Presidency Armies were unified into a single Indian Army. For administrative convenience, it was divided into four Commands viz. Punjab (including the North West Frontier), Bengal, Madras (including Burma) and Bombay (including Sind, Quetta and Aden).
The supreme authority over the Indian Army vested in the Governor General-in-Council, subject to the Control of the Crown, which was exercised by the Secretary of State for India. Two Members in the Council were responsible for military affairs, one of whom was the Military Member, who supervised all administrative and financial matters, while the other was the Commander-in-Chief who was responsible for all operational matters. The Military Department was abolished in March 1906 and it was replaced by two separate Departments, the Army Department and the Military Supply Department. In April 1909, the Military Supply Department was abolished and its functions were taken over by the Army Department. The Army Department was redesignated as the Defence Department in January, 1938. The Department of Defence became the Ministry of Defence under a Cabinet Minister in August, 1947.
Organisational Set-Up And Functions
After independence, Ministry of Defence was created under the charge of a Cabinet Minister, and, each Service was placed under its own Commander-in-Chief. In 1955, the Commanders-in-Chief were renamed as the Chief of the Army Staff, the Chief of the Naval Staff and the Chief of the Air Staff. In November 1962, a Department of Defence Production was set up to deal with research, development and production of defence equipment. In November 1965, the Department of Defence Supplies was created for planning and execution of schemes for import substitution of defence requirements. These two Departments were later merged to form the Department of Defence Production and Supplies. In 2004, the name of Department of Defence Production and Supplies was changed to Department of Defence Production. In 1980, the Department of Defence Research and Development was created. In 2004, the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare was created. The Department of Military Affairs with Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as its ex-officio Secretary was created in December, 2019 to facilitate optimal utilization of resources and promote jointness among the three Services..
The Defence Secretary functions as head of the Department of Defence and is additionally responsible for co-ordinating the activities of the five Departments in the Ministry.
The principal task of the Ministry is to frame policy directions on defence and security related matters and communicate them for implementation to the Services Headquarters, Inter-Service Organisations, Production Establishments and Research & Development Organisations. It is required to ensure effective implementation of the Government's policy directions and the execution of approved programmes within the allocated resources.
The principal functions of all the Departments are as follows:
- The Department of Defence The Department of Defence is mandated with Defence of India including defence policy. It deals with Inter-Services Organizations, Defence Accounts Department, Coast Guard, National Cadet Corps, Border Roads Organisation, Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, National Defence College etc. It is responsible for the Defence Budget, defence lands and cantonments, matters relating to Parliament, and defence cooperation with foreign countries.
- The Department of Defence ProductionThe Department of Defence Production is headed by a Secretary and deals with matters pertaining to defence production, indigenisation of imported stores, equipment and spares, planning and control of departmental production units of the Ordnance Factory Board and Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).
- The Department of Defence Research and Development The Department of Defence Research and Development is headed by a Secretary. Its function is to advise the Government on scientific aspects of military equipment and logistics and the formulation of research, design and development plans for equipment required by the Services.
- The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare is headed by a Secretary and deals with all resettlement, welfare and pensionary matters of Ex-Servicemen.
- The Department of Military Affairs This Department deals with the Armed Forces of the Union namely, Army, Navy and Air Force; Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence; the Territorial Army; Works relating to the three services etc. The Department promotes jointness among the three Services.