NEW DELHI: Amidst heightened tension on the Pakistan border and increasing incidents of gun battle with militants in Kashmir valley, Parliament Standing Committee on Defence on Thursday slammed the government for not making adequate budgetary provisions to revamp security set up and providing for procuring world class surveillance technologies.
In its report tabled in Parliament on Demands for Grants for 2017-18, the Standing Committee said it has taken serious note of the recent terror attacks on military bases, defence establishments, critical facilities and even family quarters of soldiers. “The Committee unanimously believes that safety and security of our soldiers along with their families are primary concern any compromise in this regard is unacceptable,” the report noted.
Parliament panel headed by B C Khanduri, while agreeing with the defence ministry over marginal growth of budgetary allocation is not at all sufficient and the Finance Ministry must consider increasing the funds for modernisation of the services also pointed out several requirement for the armed forces that are hampering its preparedness including, helicopters, aircraft, warships and even basic infantry weapons.
Pulling up the government for not making adequate budgetary grants for improving security of strategic installations, the parliamentary panel pointed out deficiencies in the sphere of providing bullet proof jackets to soldiers, latest weapons, machineries and surveillance equipment. Once equipped, it will assist the forces in “maintaining a robust and effective response mechanism to counter emerging threats,” the report said.
“However, the budgetary provisions made under the Demands for Grants 2017-18 as well as the dismal status of capital procurements do not reciprocate the seriousness required towards meeting out defence needs,” the panel observed.
Apart from shortage of weapons, the panel also said impetus has to be given to upgrade surveillance systems and networks. Promptness in monitoring and precision in detection of potential threats will help in tracking the insurgent elements well in advance.
The defence ministry should take measures for introducing latest and best available global standards of surveillance technologies. “Mere dependence on manual surveillance will no longer suffice the need, the panel opined and said along with installation of the equipment, commensurate emphasis should be laid upon intellectual inputs and technology driver software based detection practices.
In fact, during proceedings, Defence secretary informed the lawmakers that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had written to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley regarding requirement of more funds and even the PMO has also been apprised about the requirement.