RE­PORT OF THE ES­TI­MATES COM­MIT­TEE ON DE­FENCE

Gfiles - - FRONT PAGE - ey VIVEK MUKHERJI

Noth­ing con­crete has been done for im­ple­men­ta­tion of the strate­gic part­ner­ship model un­veiled by the Gov­ern­ment in May, 2017, which en­vis­aged pri­vate play­ers playing a key role in build­ing mil­i­tary plat­forms like sub­ma­rine and fighter jets in In­dia in part­ner­ship with ma­jor global de­fence com­pa­nies

In­creas­ing the Ex­pen­di­ture on De­fence Ser­vices

The Com­mit­tee notes that In­dia with its strate­gic lo­ca­tion, with a coast­line of about 7,500 km and land bor­ders of 15,000 km of which 3,323 km are with Pak­istan and 3,380 km with China, its west­ern, north-west­ern, north­ern and north-eastern bor­ders re­main volatile be­cause of his­tor­i­cal as well as strate­gic rea­sons and in­ter­nal se­cu­rity threats, need de­fence pre­pared­ness to be kept con­sis­tently at the high­est level. From the data made avail­able to the Com­mit­tee, it was found that de­fence ex­pen­di­ture has marginally in­creased since 2014-15 and when com­pared to Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment Ex­pen­di­ture (CGE), the per­cent­age has de­clined from 13.15 dur­ing 2014-15 to 12.20 dur­ing 2017-18. De­fence ex­pen­di­ture when an­a­lysed as a per­cent­age of GDP, in the last few years it has ranged be­tween 2.06 per cent (2014-15) to 1.56 per cent (2017-18). The Com­mit­tee noted that the de­fence ex­pen­di­ture at 1.56 per cent of GDP was at the low­est level since 1962, when In­dia-China war was fought. In the cur­rent geo-po­lit­i­cal sce­nario, a coun­try of the size of In­dia can­not af­ford com­pla­cency when it is a ques­tion of de­fence pre­pared­ness even for a two-front war while re­tain­ing its dom­i­nance in the In­dian Ocean. The Com­mit­tee there­fore, strongly em­pha­sises that al­lo­ca­tion of ad­e­quate fi­nan­cial re­sources for de­fence pre­pared­ness both for the cur­rent needs and ex­pan­sion and mod­erni­sa­tion plans should be ac­corded high­est pri­or­ity to en­able the ser­vices to meet the chal­lenges con­cern­ing safety and se­cu­rity of the coun­try. The Com­mit­tee ex­presses its un­hap­pi­ness that the share of Cap­i­tal Ex­pen­di­ture as a per­cent­age of the to­tal De­fence Ser­vices Ex­pen­di­ture is abysmally low and is con­tin­u­ously de­clin­ing over the years. In the years 201213 and 2013-14, the share of Cap­i­tal Ex­pen­di­ture was 39 per cent in each year, which in the year 2017-18 and 2018-19 came down to 33 per cent and 34 per cent, re­spec­tively. What is more wor­ri­some is the sit­u­a­tion whereby the pro­cure­ment has to be ad­justed as per the bud­getary al­lo­ca­tions made by the Gov­ern­ment which are not as per the re­quire­ments pro­jected as per Long Term In­te­grated Per­spec­tive Plan (LTIPP). It ob­served that al­lo­ca­tions un­der the cap­i­tal head are made for pro­cure­ments for our ser­vices, which in­clude de­fence equip­ments, weaponry, air­crafts, naval ships, con­struct­ing roads and bridges in bor­der ar­eas, etc. and any de­crease in cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture has an ad­verse im­pact on mod­erni­sa­tion process of our forces and tan­ta­mount to com­pro­mis­ing safety and se­cu­rity of our coun­try. The Com­mit­tee finds the present sit­u­a­tion un­ac­cept­able whereby the al­lo­ca­tions are not be­ing made as per the

LTIPP, thereby de­feat­ing the pur­pose of hav­ing long term de­fence plans. It, there­fore, rec­om­mends that the cap­i­tal pro­cure­ment bud­get should be in con­so­nance with the pro­jec­tions made by the ser­vices as per LTIPP. The al­lo­ca­tions made at the Bud­getary Es­ti­mates (BE) stage have been con­sis­tently re­duced at Re­vised Es­ti­mate (RE) level, and even the re­duced al­lo­ca­tions could not be utilised fully dur­ing the years 2014-15 and 2015-16. In this sce­nario, the Com­mit­tee was not able to ap­pre­ci­ate the re­marks of the Sec­re­tary, De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion, dur­ing the course of de­po­si­tion that they hear from the Depart­ment of De­fence that the re­quire­ment of the forces is very high and the fund al­lo­ca­tion to that ex­tent is not there. The Com­mit­tee, there­fore, while rec­om­mend­ing for ad­e­quate al­lo­ca­tions for de­fence pro­duc­tion would like the depart­ment to an­a­lyse the rea­sons and take cor­rec­tive ac­tions to en­sure that the re­sources al­lo­cated are fully utilised which would help in get­ting fur­ther higher al­lo­ca­tions in the com­ing years.

Self re­liance in de­fence

Dur­ing the course of ex­am­i­na­tion, the Com­mit­tee was ap­prised by the Depart­ment of De­fence Pro­duc­tion that out of to­tal de­fence pro­duc­tion around 40 per cent is pro­duced in­dige­nously and 60 per cent is im­ported. The Com­mit­tee while ex­press­ing se­ri­ous con­cern over the pre­vail­ing sit­u­a­tion ob­served that de­pen­dence on for­eign sup­pli­ers par­tic­u­larly for mil­i­tary hard­ware not only re­sults in huge ex­pen­di­ture on im­port of de­fence equip­ments but makes the se­cu­rity of the coun­try vul­ner­a­ble as dur­ing emer­gency sit­u­a­tions the sup­plier may not pro­vide us the re­quired weapons or spare parts. Noth­ing con­crete has been done for im­ple­men­ta­tion of the strate­gic part­ner­ship model un­veiled by the Gov­ern­ment in May, 2017, which en­vis­aged pri­vate play­ers playing a key role in build­ing mil­i­tary plat­forms like sub­ma­rine and fighter jets in In­dia in part­ner­ship with ma­jor global de­fence com­pa­nies.

Shortage of am­mu­ni­tions

The Com­mit­tee dur­ing the course of ex­am­i­na­tion was ap­prised by the Min­istry of De­fence that the shortage strictly in the to­tal­ity is not there yet there are 10-15 am­mu­ni­tions where there is shortage and some of them of a crit­i­cal na­ture. Or­di­nance Fac­tory Boards (OFBs) / De­fence Pub­lic Sec­tor Un­der­tak­ings (DPSUs) have achieved some ex­per­tise in ar­ma­ments and weapon man­u­fac­tur­ing, al­though de­pen­dency on im­ported parts and sys­tems is an area of con­cern. As far as pro­duc­tion of ar­ma­ments by Ord­nance Fac­to­ries is con­cerned, the de­pen­dency on im­ports with re­gard to heavy equip­ment has con­sid­er­ably de­creased. For T-90 tanks, the de­pen­dency on im­port has de­creased from 40 per cent to 13 per cent as stated by the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of MoD dur­ing the course of ev­i­dence. The Com­mit­tee still feels that more needs to be done to re­duce our de­pen­dency on im­ports.

Ac­qui­si­tion/ upgra­da­tion for IAF

The Com­mit­tee un­der­stands that a large pro­por­tion of our de­fence hard­ware has served its use­ful life cy­cle and now need to be re­placed ur­gently. From the in­for­ma­tion given in An­nual Re­port 2016-17 of the Min­istry of De­fence, it is noted that the IAF is on a tra­jec­tory of mod­erni­sa­tion. The draft De­fence Pro­duc­tion Pol­icy 2018,

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