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Army critical of defence budget

This year's budget allocations have “dashed our hopes” for modernisation and the government’s Make in India efforts may end up a non-starter , the Army leadership has told a Parliamentary standing committee in the strongest statement to come from the military on finances available for new purchases in 2017-18 budget.

Vice-Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Sarath Chand told the Parliamentary standing committee on defence that various efforts taken for modernisation have “received a little setback”.

“To highlight a few cases, the marginal increase in BE [budget estimates] barely accounts for the inflation and does not even cater for the taxes. Allocation of ₹21,338 crore for modernisation is insufficient even to cater for committed payment of ₹29,033 crore for 125 on-going schemes, emergency procurements…. Committed liabilities of 2017 — which will also get passed on to 2018 — will further accentuate the situation,” Lt Gen Chand told the committee.

The Army’s stand was made available in the report of the standing committee which was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

Typically, any modern Army has a mix of one-third of its equipment in the vintage category, one-third in the current category and one-third in the State of the art category. However, Lt. Gen. Chand presented a dismal view on the Army’s modernisation levels.

“As far as we are concerned, the state today is 68% of our equipment is in the vintage category, with just about 24% in the current, and 8% in the state of the art category,” he said.

Overal shortfall

All streams taken into account, the Army has an overall shortfall of around ₹12,296 crore under the capital head, the report said.

In its response, the Committee headed by Retd. Major Gen B.C. Khanduri, observed that there is huge shortfall in projected and allocated amounts in capital head for the Services in 2018-19.

The shortfall stands at ₹17,756.92 crore, ₹15,691.70 crore, ₹1,392.58 crore and ₹41,924.57 crore for Army, Navy, Joint Staff and Air Force, respectively.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 4:26:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/army-critical-of-defence-budget/article23229650.ece

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