Only 'Jai Kisan', no 'Jai Jawan'? No mention of defence plan in Budget 2016

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New Delhi, Feb 29: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made no mention of the country's defence allocation in the 2016-17 Budget that he presented on Monday, raising quite a few eyebrows.

The focus of this year's Budget remained mainly on the rural, agricultural and social sector, which many analysts saw as athe government's move to deal with the pro-corporate accusations by the Opposition.

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But not a single mention of the defence allocation, something that left strategic affairs experts baffled, made it quite interesting. In his 2015-16 Budget, Jaitley had announced Rs. 2,46,727 crore (US$ 40.4 billion) for defence, which amounted to a 7.7 per cent increase over the allocation in 2014-15.

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One of the reasons for this is that funds allocated for the country's military modernisation could go down than the last year, with defence pensions eating up a big chunk.

The parliamentary standing committee on defence, had said in its recommendations, that although defence expenditure has been increasing over the years, the percentage rise since 2000-01 has not been consistent and warned the government ahead of this year's Budget that a low allocation for the defence sector could adversely affect the country's security.

Did the Union finance minister ignored the allocation for the defence sector because of this reason to avoid fresh controversies from breaking out.

India's defence budget slipped to 1.74% of its GDP in 2015-16, compared to 1.78% the fiscal before. Experts are of the opinion that the country's military spending should be around three per cent of the GDP to counter China's rapid military growth. India's military spending was 13.88 per cent of the total government expenditure in 2015-16.

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