NEW DELHI: The armed forces got as much as Rs 1.24 lakh crore less than what they had asked for in the 2021-2022 budget, the defence ministry told Parliament on Monday.
The Army, Navy and IAF, including joint staff, had projected an overall budgetary requirement of Rs 4,49,508 crore but were allocated only Rs 3,24,657 crore, said minister of state for defence Shripad Naik, in a written answer in Rajya Sabha.
Within this amount, the 15-lakh strong armed forces were allocated Rs 1,23,000 crore under the capital outlay, which is primarily meant for military modernization, when they had projected a requirement of Rs 1,99,553 crore.
Listing out similar shortfalls since 2014-15, Naik said that while finance ministry’s allocations are not as per the projections made by the armed forces, additional funds “are sought during the course of the financial year based on the pace of expenditure, pending committed liabilities (instalments for deals inked earlier)” and the like.
“If necessary, re-prioritization is undertaken to ensure that urgent and critical capabilities are acquired without any compromise to operational preparedness of the defence services,” added Naik.
India spent an additional unbudgeted Rs 20,776 crore on emergency arms procurements and committed liabilities in the 2020-2021 fiscal in face of China’s belligerence on the northern borders.
Though India and China carried out troop disengagement on both sides of Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh last month, the deadlock in the other “friction points” of Gogra, Hot Springs, Demchok and Depsang Plains is still to be resolved.
The overall defence budget for 2021-2022 was increased by a paltry sum to Rs 4,78,196 crore from last year’s budgetary allocation of Rs 4,71,378 crore, which amounts to a mere 1.4% hike. But the silver lining is that the capital outlay has been hiked by almost 19% to Rs 1,35,061 crore from last year’s budgeted Rs 1,13,734 crore.