MoD battling to get funds: Antony
By Ritu Sharma | Published: 09th November 2012 10:19 AM |
In the face of economic slowdown, the Ministry of Defence on Thursday said it was fighting a tough battle to get even its allocated budget of Rs 1.93 lakh crore from the government while completely shelving its plans to get an additional Rs 45,000 crore.
“Now I am struggling to get the budgetary amount,” Defence Minister A K Antony told reporters when asked if he was hopeful of getting additional budget for the modernisation of Armed Forces.
The Defence Minister, however, ruled out any cuts in the budget. “These are all rumours. Our Ministry is trying to speed up (the modernisation process) without compromising procedures. From our Ministry’s side, there is no question of slowing down,” Antony added.
On Wednesday, Antony had advised the Armed Forces to focus on acquisition process as many of the procurement have been running behind schedule.
The delay in Indigenous Aircraft carrier (IAC), slow progress of border roads projects in Arunachal, highly unsatisfactory progress of ordnance factories and defence PSUs are said to be the main reasons for the present state of affairs in the defence expenditure, sources said.
To set right the course and exhaust the Rs 1,93,000 crore of Defence Budget, of which around Rs 80,000 crore was allocated for the modernisation and acquisition projects, Antony has asked the officials to conduct series of separate review meetings about the projects and plans having direct linkages with the ‘operational preparedness’.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram, however, refused to comment on the question about any cuts in the Defence Budget.