Budget 2019: With just 0.01% in defence allocation, modernisation of forces takes a hit
New Delhi, July 05: At a time when India's security risks are at an all-time high, the Union Budget 2019 presented by former defence minister turned out to be big damp squib for the armed forces.
While Sitharaman did not mention specific allocations for the defence forces in her budget speech, the much-needed allocation for modernisation of the armed forces was increased by a minuscule. The announcement made little change for defence allocation from the interim budget presented by Piyush Goyal.
"Defence has an immediate requirement of modernisation and upgradation. This is a national priority. For this purpose, import of defence equipment that is not being manufactured in India is being exempted from the basic customs duty," the former defence minister said during her Budget speech.
An allocation of Rs 3.18 lakh crore was made in the Union Budget to the defence sector for 2019-20 as against last year's Rs 2.98 lakh crore. Out of the total allocation, Rs 1,08,248 crore has been set aside for capital outlay to purchase new weapons, platforms and military hardware.
The revenue expenditure which includes expenses on payment of salaries and maintenance of establishments has been pegged at Rs 2,10,682 crore as against Rs 1,88,118 crore for 2018-19.
The outlay for defence sector almost remained unchanged compared to what was allocated in the interim budget on February 1.
The allocation of Rs 3,18,931 represents a growth of 7.93 per cent over budget estimates of Rs 2.95 lakh crore and 6.87 per cent over revised estimates Rs 2.98 lakh crore respectively for 2018-19, according to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's office.
The total outlay does not include Rs 1,12,079 crore set aside separately for payment of pensions. If allocation for pension is included, then the total outlay for defence stands at Rs 4.31 lakh crore which accounts for 15.47 per cent of the total central government expenditure for the year 2019-20.