India’s security juggernaut has been given a marginal hike in budgetary allocations, despite last year’s funds not being fully utilised.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has allocated Rs 1,47,344 crore for defence compared to Rs 1,41,703 crore last year, an increase of barely 4 per cent. He has pared internal security expenditure from Rs 33,809 crore last year to Rs 29,940 crore for 2010-11.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram was satisfied. “I am confident we can find additional resources through re-appropriation or supplementaries.”
Revised budget estimates show the defence ministry failed to spend Rs 7,000 crore out of the capital outlay of Rs 54,824 crore for modernisation, while the home ministry found no use for Rs 2,909 crore last year.
Strategic affairs expert Commodore Uday Bhaskar (retd) said: “The Budget must lead to creation of credible and robust capacities across the board.” The government has set aside Rs 60,000 crore for modernisation of armed forces. But the defence ministry has traditionally surrendered funds.
It failed to spend Rs 7,007 crore last year, Rs 3,750 crore in 2007-08 and Rs 3,000 crore in 2006-07. Former army chief General V.P. Malik said the biggest concern was that money was being surrendered year after year.