NEW DELHI: A Parliamentary panel led by a BJP MP has slammed the Ministry of Finance for cutting the budgetary allocation of the Coast Guard despite coastal security being given prominence after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
“It is indeed worrying and dismaying to note that the funds allocated under the capital section for 2015-16 for the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is short of the projected requirement by near about 50 per cent viz, the allocated amount being `1,200 crore as compared to the projected requirement of `2,150 crore,” the report claimed.
The Standing Committee on Defence, headed by BJP leader and former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Major General B C Khanduri, stated in its report tabled last week in Parliament, “Aspects relating to the security of the nation and more particularly, coastal security on account of the current threat perception cannot be underemphasised or ignored in anyway.”
The panel added that it “is more worrying, due to the budgetary cut imposed by the Ministry of Finance, the ICG is carrying over a liability of `675 crore from 2014-15. The projected requirement for various new schemes of the ICG is said to be `4,225.00 crore... to ward off the possibility of any incident such as that of 26/11, every possible step be taken for ensuring that the functioning/programmes of the ICG do not suffer due to want of funds”.
Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar had told the Parliamentary panel that the money allocation for 2015-16 would be exhausted in just six months.
The 39-year-old maritime security force with over 10,000 personnel operates in coordination with the Navy, police and customs department to safeguard the country’s economic and strategic interests.
The Coastal Security Network (CSN), created after 26/11, targeted surveillance of India’s 75,000-km-longcoast through 46 radar systems, with 36 on the mainland and 10 in islands. In phase II of the CSN, 38 more are in the process of being installed. The force aims to have 150 ships and 100 twin-engined aircraft by 2020.