China standoff: MoD wants extra Rs 20,000 crore budget to be battle-ready
Indian Defence News: Amid Doklam stand-off, MoD seeks additional Rs 20,000 crore for combat readiness of armed forces
- The defence ministry sought an urgent additional allocation of Rs 20,000 crore for military modernization
- The forces have projected a requirement of Rs 26.84 lakh crore ($416 billion) over the next five years
- “The finance ministry said the MoD request will be examined at the earliest,” said a source
NEW DELHI: The defence ministry on Tuesday sought an “urgent” additional allocation of Rs 20,000 crore for military modernization as well as day-to-day operating costs from the Centre, in a move that comes when Indian and Chinese troops continue to remain locked in a tense standoff near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction since mid-June.
Sources said MoD officials led by defence secretary Sanjay Mitra told their finance ministry counterparts in a meeting that the Rs 20,000 crore was urgently required in addition to the Rs 2.74 lakh crore allocated for defence in the 2017-2018 budget.
“The MoD officials said almost 50% of the capital and 41% of the revenue outlays in the defence budget had already been utilized in the ongoing fiscal. Moreover, the new customs duty on arms imports had also burnt a big hole in the defence budget. The finance ministry said the MoD request will be examined at the earliest,” said a source.
As it is, the Rs 1,72,774 crore revenue outlay for day-to-day costs and salaries by far outstrips the capital one of Rs 86,488 crore for new weapon systems and modernization in the existing 2017-18 defence budget. Moreover, the bulk of the capital outlay is earmarked for “committed liabilities or instalments” for deals inked earlier. Incidentally, the Rs 2.74 lakh crore outlay works out to just 1.56% of the projected GDP, the lowest such figure since the 1962 war with China.
As was first reported by TOI last month, the armed forces have projected a requirement of Rs 26.84 lakh crore ($416 billion) over the next five years under the 13th Defence Plan (2017-2022) to ensure requisite military modernization and maintenance to take on the collusive threat from Pakistan and China as well as to safeguard India’s expanding geostrategic interests.
The armed forces, in fact, want the annual defence budget to progressively reach at least 2% of the GDP for their operational requirements. The actual defence budgets, however, have shown a marked trend towards declining modernization budgets, unspent funds and a skewed revenue to capital expenditure ratio, which have meant the Army, Navy and IAF continue to grapple with critical operational gaps on several fronts.
If the Army has operational deficiencies in artillery guns, infantry weapons, light helicopters, night-fighting capabilities and the like, the IAF does not have enough fighters, mid-air refuellers, AWACS(airborne warning and control systems) and drones. The Navy, in turn, is struggling with shortages in the number of submarines, multi-role helicopters and minesweepers.
For detailed news, refer to the below article in “TOI”.