New Delhi: At a time when junior officers are not happy over a virtual ban on staying in hotels, Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat has said that the move to ask officers to stay in service guestrooms will help in curbing corruption. This was done because there is a possibility that officers staying in hotels may indulge in corrupt practices such as "exchanging briefcases with contractors".

The Army is facing issues as junior officers are not happy about being forced to stay in guestrooms instead of hotels whereas their fellow officers in the Air Force, navy and other civilian departments under the Ministry of Defence are availing the facility given to them by the sixth pay commission which came into being from 2008.

While interacting with officers in Nashik, the Army chief took the name of a particular department of the Ministry of Defence comprising Army engineers and civilians and said some of them prefer to stay in hotels as they have to "exchange briefcases with contractors" and the new policy to make officers stay in guestrooms will help in curbing these practices.

The new policy over guestrooms has not been welcomed by the officers despite the Army issuing new instructions on the allotment of rooms by the forces and simplified booking procedure.

After the Army policy came out, a few cases surfaced where the defence accounts department refused to clear the bills of individual officers for staying in hotels, even at places where there was no Army establishment like Barnala in Punjab. The accounts officials demanded that the officers produce non-availability certificates, which were difficult to get.

The Army headquarters is also working towards issuing a new application tool called ARMAAN which would help officials to book guestrooms online before moving to any military station on temporary duty. 

The move is also seen as a measure to save money on account of revenue funds, as the Army is spending a huge amount on pension and other expenses. The Army is then left with a very small amount for modernisation of its weaponry and war-fighting equipment.