‘Not conducive': Parliamentary panel warns against defence funding cut
The committee observe that out of the total budgetary allocation of ₹3,43,822.00 in 2020-21, only ₹2,33,176.70 have been utilised by the ministry up to December 2020.
Citing increased tensions with certain neighbouring countries, the Parliamentary Standing Committee Defence has recommended that the defence ministry should not make any reduction in the budgetary allocations to the armed forces. In a report tabled in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, the panel, headed by BJP MP Jual Oram, said it was of the view that in the "present scenario of heightened tensions with our neighbouring countries, especially at borders of our country, such situation is not conducive for defence preparedness".
The panel, in its previous reports, had recommended making capital budget "non-lapsable" and "roll-on" in nature. The committee said it was apprised that a draft cabinet note for the non-lapsable defence modernisation fund is under consideration.
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"The committee observe that out of the total budgetary allocation of ₹3,43,822.00 in 2020-21, only ₹2,33,176.70 have been utilised by the ministry up to December 2020," the report said.
What panel said in its report
>A demand of ₹2,15,995 crore was projected under the capital head for 2022-23, but the allocation made was ₹1,52,369.61 crore. Such curtailment of funds could end up compromising the operational preparedness of the defence services.
>At the budget estimate stage in 2022-23, the gap between the projected and allocated budget for the army, navy and air force is ₹14,729.11 crore, ₹20,031.97 crore and ₹28,471.05 crore respectively, which are remarkably high.
>A draft cabinet note for the non-lapsable defence modernisation fund is under consideration.
>The Indian Air Force (IAF) should have "two front deterrence capabilities", which is of utmost priority as the "threat on both sides of Indian neighbourhood is a reality which cannot be ignored", making a veiled reference to the security threats from Pakistan and China.
>The total technical life of most of the existing squadron is expiring and consequently, the squadron strength is progressively depleting.
>The IAF should ensure that new aircraft are procured in the near future so as to enhance its combat capabilities.
(With inputs from PTI)