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Union Budget: Defense budget increased only 1.4%, but more money for military modernization News from India


NEW DELHI: There was no big increase in the overall defense budget, but India spent an additional 20,776 crore unbudgeted on emergency weapons purchases in the current fiscal year in the face of China’s ongoing belligerence on the northern borders , especially in eastern Ladakh.
Total defense spending for 2021-2022 has increased by a negligible sum to 4.78.196 crore from last year’s budget allocation of 4.71.378 crore, which equates to a mere increase of 1, 4%.
The silver lining is that the capital outlay for military modernization has increased by almost 19% to Rs 1,35,061 crore from last year’s budget of Rs 1,13,734 crore. “This is the highest increase in defense capital outlay in 15 years,” Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said.

Furthermore, the Rs 20.776 crore increase in the revised estimates for 2020-2021 over budget estimates shows the flood of emergency procurement India has made from countries like the US, France, Russia and Israel to bolster its readiness. operational military after the multiple Chinese. intrusions in eastern Ladakh last May. These range from different missiles and precision-guided munitions to drones, assault rifles, and specialized winter clothing and gear.

The 4.78 million rupee lakh defense budget also includes 1.15 million rupees as defense pensions for retired military and civilian personnel. It represents only 1.63% of the GDP projected for 2021-2022 if the pension bill is excluded, and 2.15% if not.
This when military experts have been demanding that India allocate more than 2.5% to defense spending to build the necessary deterrence against China and Pakistan, whose collusive threat has only increased in recent times.
Without much concrete planning to systematically build military capabilities and a persistent funding shortage, the 15-lakh armed forces continue to suffer operational deficiencies on various fronts, ranging from fighter jets, submarines and helicopters to drones, ammunition and night combat capabilities.
India may be among the top five countries in terms of military spending, although the United States spends more than 10 times and China almost four times its annual defense budget, but does not get the most return on its investment. Maintaining the military, pay, and pensions consume most of the spending, leaving less for desperately needed military modernization.

Interestingly, the new estimates show a projected decrease in defense pensions from Rs 1.33 lakh crore to Rs 1.15 lakh crore, which could be an indicator that the government could implement the proposal to increase the retirement age for officers and soldiers.
As previously reported by TOI, a proposal from the military affairs department recommended that the retirement age for ranks up to colonels in the Army and equivalents in the Navy and IAF be raised to 57 years from the existing 54.
Similarly, 58 years for the brigadistas (56) and 59 for the major generals (58). The retirement age for Jawans and JCOs in non-combat weapons such as logistics, technical and medical branches, in turn, should be raised to 57, under the proposal.

Times of India