De­fence Bud­get 2016-17 – Lowest rise


[ By Ranjeet Ku­mar

P] rob­a­bly this year’s de­fence bud­get (2016-17) has seen the lowest rise in the his­tory of de­fence bud­gets. The neg­li­gi­ble rise in this year’s de­fence bud­get will shock the armed forces and the strate­gic com­mu­nity who vi­su­alise a new great power role for the coun­try. The NDA Gov­ern­ment has made a very mea­gre pro­vi­sion of ` 2,49,099 crore which is just ` 2,372 crore more than ` 2,46,727 crore de­fence bud­get of last year (2015-16).

The neg­li­gi­ble in­crease of just 0.96 per cent gets more wor­ri­some in view of the heavy de­val­u­a­tion of In­dian cur­rency com­pared to last year, when it hov­ered around ` 62-63 for one US dol­lar in com­par­i­son to present-day for­eign ex­change rate of around ` 68-69. Since the In­dian armed forces are de­pen­dent on im­ports to the ex­tent of 65 per cent, this year’s pro­vi­sion of just ` 88,340 crore for the cap­i­tal out­lay, i.e. for the mod­erni­sa­tion of the armed forces will not be suf­fi­cient for the var­i­ous ac­qui­si­tions that the NDA Gov­ern­ment has promised in ac­cor­dance with its ethos of mak­ing In­dia mil­i­tar­ily strong. Also, last year’s de­fence bud­get (2015-16) com­prised 13.88 per cent of the to­tal Cen­tral bud­get, which has now gone down to 10 per cent.

Also, the Manohar Par­rikar-led Min­istry of De­fence (MoD) has cleared de­fence projects worth over ` 1,50,000 crore over the last year. These can­not be ex­e­cuted to­tally, in view of the lim­ited pro­vi­sions this year un­der cap­i­tal out­lay. At a time when the coun­try is fac­ing re­newed threats and chal­lenges on its bor­ders and mar­itime ar­eas of in­ter­est, re­quire­ments of arm­ing its armed forces with the lat­est weaponry has never been felt more, hence the mea­gre pro­vi­sion for the na­tion’s de­fence would not suf­fice.

Union Min­is­ter for Finance, Cor­po­rate Af­fairs and In­for­ma­tion & Broad­cast­ing, Arun Jait­ley in North Block along with the

Min­is­ter of State for Finance, Jayant Sinha be­fore the pre­sen­ta­tion of General Bud­get 2016-17

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