In the wake of slow economic growth causing concern among policymakers, the Defence Ministry has put on hold its plan to seek an additional budget of about Rs 50,000 crore for the year 2012-13.
When the Finance Minister had announced the 2012-13 defence budget of Rs 1,93,000 crore, Defence Minister A K Antony had made it known that it was 15.5 per cent less than the estimated requirement of the services. Antony had said that as per projections, his ministry needed Rs 2,39,123 crore and will require an additional Rs 45,716 crore.
“The budget estimates were given in accordance with the assessment of the new emerging threat perception from neighbouring countries and the forces required it to meet them. However, with the other ministries facing cut, the defence ministry has also put the proposal of its demand in cold storage,” sources said.
Given the emerging threat scenario around India, the Armed Forces — Army, Navy and Air Force — have been undergoing heavy modernisation in recent years. A reflection of this is that unlike about a decade of lost modernisation when its sluggish acquisition processes resulted in unspent defence budgets year after year, the Ministry has managed to spend the defence budget for the second consecutive year in 2011-12. The Ministry had sought an additional budget of over Rs 3,000 crore.
For 2012-13, Antony had said: “Because of the changing threat perception, our Armed Forces need more aircraft, warships, tanks, helicopters, and so on. All these things need more money.”