Parliamentary Panel Criticizes Central Government For Inadequate Funds Allocation In Defence Budget

New Delhi: The inadequate allocation of funds for the armed forces in the recent defense budget drew ire from a parliamentary panel today. The panel said that the country cannot afford for complacency in dealing with future security challenges, specifically when there is a possibility for a country like India to face a two-front war.

The committee, in its report to Lok Sabha, on estimates also referred to the allocation of 1.56 percent of the GDP to the three services in the defense budget, claiming that it was the lowest allocation since India and China fought a war in 1962.

The latest report was prepared nearly four months after the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence had criticized the central government for allocation of insufficient funds to the Army, Navy and the Air Force.

“In the current geopolitical scenario, a country of the size of India cannot afford complacency when it is a question of defense preparedness,” the committee headed by former Union minister and senior BJP MP Murli Manohar Joshi said.

The report also discussed the strict need for the country’s preparedness for a potential two-front war with Pakistan and China while the need for strengthing India’s influence in the India Ocean.

The committee slammed the government’s “abysmally low” capital expenditure as a percentage of total defense services allocation. The capital expenditure accounts for the procurement of weapons, military platforms, and equipment.

“… Any decrease in capital expenditure has an adverse impact on the modernization process of our forces and tantamount to compromising the safety and security of our country,” it said.

It also called for an urgent need to get the “obsolete armaments” with state of the art weapon systems that require an increase in capital budget essentially.

In the recent Union budget, the central government of India had allocated Rs. 2.95 lakh crore to defense forces which is estimated to be around 1.56 percent of the country’s GDP. The armed forces were known to be unhappy with the allocation.

The Army had already reported to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence that it was reeling under a severe financial crunch and struggling to even make an urgent and emergency procurement when China and Pakistan were carrying out modernization of their defense in “full swing”.

In its report, the Parliamentary Committee on Estimates also underlined the strong need for having synergy between the services and the defense public sector undertakings, saying it is absolutely very important for defense preparedness of the country.

It also advised the defense ministry to take further steps to cut delays in the procurement process of weapons and military hardware.

Apart from all these, the Parliamentary panel also recommended that the defense ministry may take appropriate steps to constitute an integrated institutional mechanism consisting of all key stakeholders in order to reduce delays in the procurement process.

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