Indian Army Lacks Budget & 'Poor Allocation' By Center Has "Dashed Our Hopes": Army Vice-Chief
Even after witnessing a rise of 7.81% in India’s defence budget for the financial year 2018-19, the Indian Army is not only struggling with the shortage of weapons, ammunition, and equipment but cannot also pay for an emergency purchase.
The army had initiated a series of emergency procurements of rifles, ammunition, anti-tank missiles, and stores in the crisis like surgical strikes, Uri attack, and the Doklam standoff. Also, there are no proper resources to start the construction of strategic roads on the China border.
The amount allocated to the defence was Rs 2.95 lakh crore which was kept at Rs 2.74 lakh crore last year.
What’s Army Take On This?
After analysing the situation, the Army informed the Defence Parliamentary Standing Committee that the allocated budget for the year 2018-19 had hampered the path towards modernisation and other projects like ‘Make in India’. BJP veteran Maj Gen. B.C. Khanduri (retd) heads the committee.
Lt Gen. Sarath Chand who is Vice Chief of Army Staff shared his frustration with the panel and told that funds allocated this year are not even enough to pay the instalments of previous year’s purchases. “The 2018-2019 budget has dashed our hopes … The marginal increase barely accounts for inflation and does not even cater for taxes,” Chand told the parliamentary committee on defence.
He further told the committee that for now, around 68 percent of its equipment stands in the ‘vintage category’ and about 8 percent in the ‘state-of-the-art category’ and 24 percent in the ‘current category’.
Know How It Affects Indian Army’s Positioning
Stating the repercussion of low budget and its impact of Make in India initiatives, Chand directed that army is incapable of rolling out 25 projects that were selected by the Army. “There isn’t adequate budget to support this. As a result, many of these may end up foreclosed,” he added.
According to the report submitted by Army, it has received Rs 17,756 crores less than what it had asked for. Therefore, it severely affected Indian Army’s position on the China border as well, as lack of resources would stall strategic work.
“We have a large number of Chinese strategic roads and also infrastructural development along the northern borders. For these infrastructure developments, the allocation is falling short by around Rs 902 crore from what we have demanded,” the Vice Chief said.
Moreover, the budget allocated for modernization purpose, i.e. Rs 21,338 crore is inadequate even to meet committed payments for 123 on-going schemes, a sum of Rs 29,033 crores, emergency procurements and other requirements
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Major Gaurav Arya (Retd), a defence expert said “Defence Budget despite being hiked by 7.81%, it is just 1.58% of GDP. Recently, there was a report tabled in Parliament. It was a standing committee report that pointed out a deficit of over 42,000 crores.”
In his recent article, he has shared the similar problem that Indian Army is suffering from budget shortages. He writes, “It is not that we do not have money; we do. However, we also have the most inefficient bureaucracy in the world, which we have inflicted upon ourselves.” He even asked people to read the recent CAG report tabled in the Parliament to know how bureaucracy has destroyed both our past and future.
He also penned down that being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, why our Government is incapable of providing good shoes to its army, decent helmets, bulletproof jackets or a good rifle?
Indian Army budget is now seeing a critical phase due to an increase in the revenue bill over the years. We have reached a scenario, where money needed to pay pensions and salaries to soldiers is more than the resources available for modernization of the forces, according to a report by ThePrint.