Panel flags low defence expenditure

August 07, 2018 03:47 am | Updated 03:47 am IST - New Delhi

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Estimates, headed by BJP MP Murli Manohar Joshi, pulled up the government over the low share of defence expenditure as a percentage of GDP and expressed “unhappiness” over the “abysmally low” share of capital expenditure of the total expenditure on defence services.

The committee also said that “nothing concrete” has been done under the ambitions Strategic Partnership policy, announced by the government to promote private sector participation in defence manufacturing.

These observations were made in a report on “Preparedness of Armed Force - Defence Production and Procurement” tabled in the Lok Sabha on July 25.

“The committee further notes that the defence expenditure at 1.56% of GDP was at the lowest level since 1962, when India-China war was fought. In the current geo-political scenario, a country of the size of India cannot afford complacency when it is a question of defence preparedness even for a two-front war while retaining its dominance in the Indian Ocean,” the report said.

The committee also expressed unhappiness that the share of capital expenditure as a percentage of total defence services expenditure is “abysmally low and is continuously declining over the years.” The committee, therefore, recommended that allocation of adequate financial resources for defence preparedness should be accorded highest priority.

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