By Team ADU
New Delhi. 29 February,2016. In fact had you blinked your eyes you could have missed the mention of the defence budget by the Finance Minister, in the budget speech this year. For the first time no mention of India’s defence allocation was made in the budget speech, as well. The budget for 2016-17, excluding pensions, accounts for 1.7% of the country’s gross domestic product, which is much less than the previous budgets.
The reason for this is in the budget papers which showed that the military didn’t spend the full amount given to it last year. The defence ministry failed to spend Rs 11,595 crore of its capital budget earmarked for buying new weapons and systems last year, besides over Rs 6,700 crore of the expenditure budget remained unspent. The revised estimate for spending for the fiscal year ending in March 2016 was Rs 2.24 lakh crore rupees.
He said the financial year will cast an additional burden on account of the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission and the implementation of Defence OROP. Stating that the Government has to prioritise its expenditure, Jaitley said the Government wants to enhance expenditure in the farm and rural sector, the social sector, the infrastructure sector and provide for recapitalisation of the banks.
The defence budget accounts for nearly 17.2 per cent of the total union budget for the year 2016-17 which is Rs 19.78 lakh crore. Calculated by experts, the budget allocation only for defence (excluding pension) is Rs 2,49,099 crore and out of this Rs.1,62,759 crore is for revenue expenditure which includes provision towards ordinance factories, R&D, DGQA, Rashtriya Rifles, Military Farms, ECHS and NCC n addition to the three forces.
While the revised estimate for the pension in the current fiscal was Rs 60,238 crore, and has jumped to Rs 82,332.66 crore for the coming financial year. There has been a marginal increase of Rs 4287.07 crore in the capital expenditure of the three services which are in the process of modernising their equipment.
With Pakistan and China both in a one upmanship game in procurement and psychological warfare, we can just hope all remains quiet on our borders. Despite the modernisation needs of the armed forces, the government is on its make in India drive and plans to limit imports to the minimal. Will it be a move good enough to fulfil immediate needs of arms and equipment? And will a lacklustre defence budget backfire and send a wrong message to the adversaries and the world as a whole, is to be seen.