In a report submitted by the Parliament Standing Committee on Defence headed by Maj. B. C. Khanduri clear projections are been submitted regarding the inadequacy of allocated budget for defence i.e. An amount of 2.74 lakh crore. He stated mismatch between the demands of Indian armed forces and amount allotted which by large will impact the military preparedness and thus the national security.
With the modest hike of just 6% compared to last year (Last year 2.58 lakh crore allocated) Defence budget is pegged at 1.62% of GDP this year (lowest since 1956-57). This is way below defence ministry panel recommendation of at least 2.5% of GDP.
Highlights:For the Army, which lack adequate critical weapons and surveillance systems, a sum of 25,254 crore has been allocated for capital allocation however committed liability being carried forward from 2016-17 to present year itself amounts to 23,000 crore. Even for the Airforce, only 4000 crore has been allocated exclusively for “new schemes”. It would hamper the modernization drive of force as the procurement of aircraft and other related equipment are highly costly in nature. Regarding Navy, committee noted that the in Budget 2017-18 only 18000 crore has been allocated for capital acquisition however contracts are signed to for 22000 crore. Hence the allocation won’t even suffice for the deals already signed.
Committee also stressed for creating long pending post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDC) as it will help in avoiding duplication in purchase of equipment common to all the three services.
PROJECT 75: Under this project, French company DCNS will provides design and technology to public sector Mazagon Docks limited to make six Scorpene submarines. These are expected to be commissioned by 2020.
Committee even pulled up the Defense ministry on its “Make in India” initiative by pointing out that in 2016- 17, more than 22 lakh crore was spent by India Air Force on modernization however only 268.10 crore worth of contracts was provided to Indian vendors.
Lastly committee came down heavily on Finance ministry for not providing timely clearance for crucial proposals.
Concluding Remark:The meagre increase of 6 % per cent in the defence budget is extremely low and inadequate in view of the vast abyss existing in military capability and the urgent inevitable need of modernization and operational preparedness. Government of India must understand that there is urgent need to increase resources, owing to the tremendous pressure in recent years especially in the capital procurement which. Nevertheless this should not come as a factor for a conflict of interests but needs to be negotiated backed by analytical facts and figures. Defence ministry demands for higher allocation no doubt is genuine, and needs to be catered rationally. At the same time defence ministry must ensure optimum utilization of available resources and limit the uses in case it can be. Rational approach needs to be chosen as it is a matter of national security thriving on harmonious relations between the defence department and nation as a whole.
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