'Inadequate fund allocation' in budget makes Army unhappy

'Inadequate fund allocation' in budget makes Army unhappy

In contrast to the requirement of the armed forces to have 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, the report states that "the current position in the Indian Army reveals that 68 per cent of equipment is of vintage category, just about 24 per cent of the current category, and only eight per cent of the state-of-the-art category".

A modern military should typically have 30% of its weaponry and equipment in the state-of-the-art technology category, 40% in current category and 30% in vintage category.

In its submission to the committee, the Army had stated that "the budget for modernisation has to be anything between 22 to 25 per cent of the overall budget, lest the Army is found to be wanting" but it was "a mere 14 per cent of the allocation, which is grossly inadequate".

Several such military capabilities have been identified in the defence ministry's new "Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap-2018" to provide the industry with an overview of the country's offensive and defensive military requirements up to the late 2020s.

'Budget 2018-19 has dashed our hopes and most of what has been achieved has actually received a little setback, ' Lt Gen Chand said.

The Army also informed the panel that it does not have adequate resources to even undertake the construction of strategic roads near the Sino-India border.

In the oral deposition to the Parliamentary panel, the Vice Chief said the allocation of Rs 21,338 crore for modernisation is way below the committed payments of Rs 29,033.

The Parliamentary Panel on Defence has said that it is alarmed by Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS)'s statements made earlier in the day, according to a report by CNBC TV18.

During the briefing to the standing committee, the Air Force and the Navy also mentioned similar problems of fund shortage where the budget was not even enough to meet their committed liabilities.

The picture is indeed grim, with even defence secretary Sanjay Mitra admitting before the committee that the finance ministry "is not supporting the defence ministry as per its requirements".

The "net" Defence Budget for 2018-2019, at Rs 2.79 lakh crore, works out to just 1.49 per cent of the GDP, the lowest such figure since the 1962 war with China. The officer said that the left money won't be sufficient for new projects.

The Vice-Chief also pointed out that strategic roads at the China border and other infrastructure projects are getting affected due to shortage of funds by more than Rs 900 crore.

As reported by ThePrint, the Indian defence budget is now dangerously skewed as the revenue bill has zoomed over the years.

Considering that India is the biggest importer of arms in the world, the government has been pushing for indigenous arms development, which would possibly be hit by the poor budget allocations.

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