Budget for defence forces in 2019-’20 not enough even for their committed payments: Reports

0
47

The money allocated to the Navy and the Air Force in the interim Budget
are not enough to even fund the payments the forces have already
committed to make in 2019-’20, The Hindu reported on Monday. The
shortfall has left defence staff concerned about capability enhancement
and modernisation efforts, the newspaper said.

The Budget,
presented in Parliament on February 1, had allocated Rs 3.01 lakh crore
to the three defence forces – including Rs 1.03 lakh crore for capital
expenses.

“The Services have conveyed their concerns to the
defence ministry,” an unidentified ministry official told The Hindu.
“Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is taking up the matter with the
Finance Ministry to address it.”

“Either
we are allocated more funds later in the year, or we need to cut down
on expenditure elsewhere if we have to meet all liabilities that we have
agreed on,” an unidentified senior naval officer told the Hindustan
Times.

The Indian Navy has been allocated Rs 22,227 crore for
capital expenditure, but its committed liabilities in 2019-’20 is Rs
25,461 crore. The Air Force has committed to paying Rs 47,413 crore this
year, but has been allocated Rs 39,347 crore. The commitments include
the payments for Rafale fighter jets from France.

The Army’s
capital allocations will, however, be enough to fund its committed
liabilities – it has got Rs 29,700 crore and has to pay Rs 21,600 crore.
But it is expected to fall short on its non-salary revenue expenditure.
The total projected expenditure is even larger – Rs 36,000 crore for
the Army, Rs 35,714 crore for the Navy and Rs 74,895 crore for the Air
Force.

An official of the defence ministry told Hindustan Times that the forces also have the option to roll over the liabilities.

Amit
Cowshish, a former chief financial adviser to the ministry, told the
newspaper that “rolling over committed liabilities happens, but is not a
healthy practice”.

“Importantly, it reflects poorly on the
country,” he said. “It is a very difficult position to be in. Not
providing for committed liabilities didn’t happen in the past.
Importantly, allocation of extra funds is unlikely to go up later in the
year.”

 scroll.in



Budget for defence forces in 2019-’20 not enough even for their committed payments: Reports