A designated committee of Parliament in India, has asked for ‘adequate’ funding enabling greater acquisition of military equipment and modernization.
The committee has found how budgetary allocation for armed forces was 35 percent lower – or $ 8.72 billion lesser– than what the projected needs were.
A Standing Committee of Parliament having members read list of members of all major political parties — India has multi-party system of Parliamentary democracy — submitted a report to the Indian Parliament on March 13 read it here. The report called the ‘demands for grants…’ pointed out to the allocations made for the financial year 2020-21, commencing April 1, 2020. The Indian budget year, or the financial year, starts April 1 and ends March 31, the next year.
The budget was presented in Indian parliament on February 1, 2020.
The report said the Defence Ministry allocated Rs 1,13,734 crore (approx $ 16 billion) in the Capital budget against the projection of Rs 1,75,702 crore (approx $ 24.74 billion). This, the report said, amounts to the shortage of Rs 61,968 crore (approx $ 8.72 billion).
Committee wants more money allocated
The report says the Committee, headed by Jual Oram, a senior member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, recommends requisite funds under the Capital Head be allocated to the Ministry at the Supplementary grants stage. Under the Indian budgeting system, supplementary grants, or revised estimates, allows more funds to be allocated around September- October.
The Committee opined that such situation is not conducive for preparation of country to modern day warfare, where possession of capital intensive modern machines are pre- requisite for not only tilting the result of war in our favour but also having a credible deterrence capabilities.
What is Capital head.
‘Capital head’ is the budgetary provision India makes for new equipment, weapons, systems, platforms, creation of new military-related infrastructure. The outlay provides allocation for land and construction works of the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. In other words, it caters for the expenditure incurred on durable assets of Army, Navy, Air Force, Joint Staff, Defence Ordnance Factories, Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), Director General Quality Assurance(DGQA), National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Defence Academy etc.
Focus on Indo-Pacific; wants more for Navy
The report has its eyes firmly on the need to expand the Navy as India aims to be a lead regional player in South -East Asia and an important one in the Indo-Pacific. The committee observes that Navy’s fighting capabilities depends on the high value platforms like Aircraft Carrier, Submarines, destroyers and frigates but the allocation of Capital Budget for Navy in percentage terms saw the sharpest decline in the past five years
In case of Navy, the difference between projected needs and allocation was Rs. 1,264 crore ( $ 170 million) during the financial in 2014-15. This was a mere 5 percent shortfall. In the year 2020-21 the shortfall will be Rs 18,580 crore ( approx $ 2.61 billion) and this is 41 per cent shortfall over the demanded projected needs for Rs 45,268 crore ( $ 6.37 biillion)
Army and Air Force to face major shortages
Projections for funds and allocations with respect of three armed forces show that that since 2015-16, none of the three Services have been given the matching allocation as per their projections.
In case of the Army, during the year 2015-16,the gap between projected needs and allocation was Rs 4,596 crore ( approx $ 640 million). It increased to Rs 17,911 crore (approx $ 2.52 billion) in 2020-21. In other words the gap grew from 14 per cent to 36 per cent.
In case of the Air Force, during the year 2015-16, the gap between projected needs and allocation was Rs. 12,505 crore ( approx $ 1.76 billion). It increased to Rs 22,925 Crore (approx $ 3,22 billion) in 2020-21. In other words the gap grew from 27 per cent to 35 per cent.