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Posted at: Mar 13, 2018, 6:45 PM; last updated: Mar 13, 2018, 8:46 PM (IST)

Army says budget 'inadequate', cannot meet even ongoing schemes

'68 per cent of equipment is in vintage category'
Army says budget 'inadequate', cannot meet even ongoing schemes
The budget was not sufficient to even meet the ''10-I'' — Army parlance for readiness for a 10-day intense conflict or emergency procurement, parliamentary panel told.

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 13

In what is a damning report on the government's priorities on military matters, the Indian Army has told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence about the military budget for the year 2018-2019 being 'inadequate', while adding that it was 'barely enough' to cater for inflation and 'insufficient'  to meet even existing liabilities.

The report of the committee was tabled in both Houses of Parliament on Tuesday. Maj Gen BC Khanduri (retd), a BJP MP from Uttarakhand, heads the panel. The committee expressed deep concern on non-allocation of projected Capital budget for Army for 2018-19.

"As far as we are concerned, the state today is 68 per cent of our equipment is in the vintage category, with just about 24 per cent in the current, and 8 per cent in the state-of-the-art category," the Army has told the committee.

"Capital Budget allocation for Army had dashed hopes as it was barely enough to cater to the rise in expenses on account of inflation, and did not even cater for the taxes," the Vice Chief of the Army told the committee.  

"An allocation of Rs 21,338 crore for modernisation is insufficient even to cater for committed payment of Rs 29,033 crore for 125 ongoing schemes," the Army has told the committee. The budget was not sufficient to even meet the '10-I' — Army parlance for readiness for a 10-day intense conflict or emergency procurements.

The report cited the Vice Chief as having said: "Allocation for modernisation in 2018-19 was insufficient to cater for committed liabilities, ongoing schemes, 'Make in India' projects, infrastructural development, policy of strategic partnership of foreign and Indian companies and procurement of arms and ammunition." Talking about the much-hyped 'Make in India', Army said it has identified 25 projects, however, there is no adequate budget to support this. As a result of which, many of these may end up foreclosed.

The committee said it was "aghast to note this dismal scenario where the representatives of the Services have themselves frankly explained the negative repercussions on our Defence preparedness due to inadequate allocation in Capital head".

The report says a series of systems and structural reforms have empowered to fully utilise allocations. Most of what has been achieved has actually received a little set back.

The committee has expressed its unhappiness at the Ministry of Finance having rejected the idea of a 'Roll on' and 'Non-Lapsable' fund.


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