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Defence spending moves up

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Sandeep Dikshit

Defence Minister `satisfied' with the commitment to meet additional needs

  • Capital outlay on defence services proposed at a record Rs. 42,000 crore
  • The highest outlay is for the IAF, followed by Army and Navy

    NEW DELHI: Defence spending continued to inch towards the one lakh crore-mark with the Union budget allocating Rs. 96,000 crore for the next fiscal as against this year's outlay for defence of Rs. 89,000 crore and actual spending of Rs. 86,000 crore.

    Referring to Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's statement during his budget speech "Needless to say, any additional requirement for the security of the nation will be provided" Defence Minister A. K. Antony said, "with this commitment, we are satisfied."

    Capital outlay on defence services (purchase of major military equipment) has been proposed at a record high of about Rs. 42,000 crore and accounts for just over 40 per cent of the budget indicating that the Government's desire for a 50:50 ratio between capital equipment and revenue expenditure remains unfulfilled.

    Of the three armed forces, the highest outlay at about Rs. 16,500 crore was for the Indian Air Force (IAF) followed by Rs. 11,374 crore for the Army and just over Rs. 10,000 crore for the Navy. This does not take into account Rs. 2,700 crore earmarked for research & development, a euphemism for missiles and other strategic systems, Rs. 320 crore for the joint staff, Rs. 168 crore for special projects and smaller amounts for the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and purchase of rolling stock, mainly specially designed railway wagons for carrying missiles.

    The specialised counter-insurgency force for the Army would also get better equipment with the budget allocating Rs. 73 crore for the purpose as against a modest Rs. 15 crore last year of which it was able to spend just over Rs. 6 crores.

    On the revenue side, which accounts for Rs. 54,000 crore, stores (mainly renewals and replacements) for the three services account for over Rs. 21,000 crore.

    The Army gets over Rs. 14,000 crore for salaries for its 11-lakh force. This is about Rs. 750 crore more than the expenditure during this fiscal and accounts for nearly one-seventh of the total defence budget. The Army has also been allocated Rs. 772 crore more for stores and Rs. 3,300 crore for RR.

    The emphasis on the work being done by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) continues with the budget allocating Rs. 3,186.47 crore as against this year's spending of just over Rs. 3,000 crore.

    The allocation under most of the eight accounting heads remain undisturbed with research getting about Rs. 100 crore more compared to this year's Rs. 510 crore and stores accounting for over one-third of the R & D outlay. This is besides the Rs. 2,700 crore allocated in the budget of the armed forces for R & D.

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