NEW DELHI: The expectation from the first full budget of PM Narendra Modi’s second term on national security matters is high, but experts feel not much will change in what was allocated for defence in the interim budget announced in February.
The government will have to factor the negative effect of the delays in modernisation, they asserted.
An officer handling the Budget mentioned that the government’s focus is expected to be on social sector and the money for which has to be commensurately allocated thus. “We don’t see much changes in the defence budget to be announced on Friday,” the officer said.
“The government has to understand the cumulative effect of delay in modernisation. All three services — army, navy and airforce —need to procure weapons and equipment to maintain the edge over adversaries and more so when we have accepted the threat of two-front war,” said Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia (Retd.), Director, Centre for Joint Warfare Studies.
Although, the defence budget nearly doubled during the first term of the Modi government, a major share of it went primarily to meet the salaries of serving personnel and to pay nearly 2.4 million ex-servicemen with approximately 55,000 being added every year.
Former Army vice-chief Lt Gen Sarath Chand had apprised a parliamentary committee of the profile of the weaponry and informed it that 68 per cent of the Army’s equipment is of the vintage category. The interim budget for 2019-20, announced in February this year, allocated about `3.02 lakh crore for defence services’ capital and revenue expenditure.
“While Revenue Budget takes away the lion’s share which has risen from 45% to 56% in the last four years, the share of capital procurement has come down to 18% from 21% during the same period,” said Laxman Behera, Research Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).