New Delhi, Feb 28:
India Saturday hiked its defence allocation by a modest 7.74 percent to Rs.246,727 crore ($40 billion), with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley declaring that “defence of every inch of our land is above everything else”.
Presenting the budget proposals for 2015-16 in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley said the government was following a policy of transparency and quick decision-making in procurement to keep the defence forces prepared for any eventuality.
He said the government was pushing for Make in India policy in defence manufacturing to reduce dependence on imports.
The allocation is a mere Rs.17,727 crore over the Rs.229,000 crore Jaitley had provided in his maiden budget last July.
As usual, the 13-lakh-strong Indian Army has received Rs.1,04,158 crore — a hike of Rs.5,846 from the revised estimate of Rs.98,310 crore in 2014-15.
At Rs.23,000 crore, the Indian Air Force allocation is Rs.2,815 crore higher than that of the previous fiscal, while the Indian Navy, at Rs.15,525 crore, has seen a small rise of Rs.1,590 crore.
As for the War Memorial and War Museum, for which Jaitley, then also the defence minister, had allocated Rs.100 crore in his previous budget, a separate implementation document circulated along with the budget paper, said the draft cabinet note for this was “under preparation”.
There has also been little progress in implementing the one-rank-one-pay scheme, for which an additional Rs.1,000 crore had been allocated in the last budget, with the implementation report saying: “The modalities are under consideration.”
Similar is the case with the Technology Development Fund that was meant to provide resources to public and private sector companies, including SMEs, as well as academic and scientific institutes to support R&D of defence systems that enhance the country’s cutting-edge technology.
“Consultations with stakeholders have been completed and draft cabinet note is being prepared,” the implementation note said.