Amidst the ongoing military tension with China in eastern Ladakh, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced an increase of nearly 7.34 per cent in the Defence Budget which will enable the armed forces to undertake critical purchases to meet any threat on the country’s borders.

The total outlay for Defence has been increased to Rs 4,78,195 crore from Rs 4,71,378 crore last year.

Excluding the pension outgo, the allocation in the Union Budget for the armed forces stands at Rs 3.62 lakh crore.

The outlay for weapons and modernisation has been increased from Rs 1,13,734 lakh crore last year to Rs 1,35,060 crore, registering a rise of 18 per cent.

This will help the armed forces to go in for key purchases, including assault rifles, missiles and land systems, which have been pending for years.

However, the Budget allocation is still not up to the expectations of the armed forces which were hopeful of a significant increase in the outlay in view of the prolonged military stand-off with China and the continued tension at the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.

But Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was quick to hail the Defence Budget proposals of the finance minister. “I thank PM and FM for increasing the defence budget to 4.78 lakh cr for FY21-22 which includes capital expenditure worth Rs 1.35 lakh crore.

It is nearly 19 per cent increase in Defence capital expenditure. This is highest ever increase in capital outlay for defence in 15 years,” he tweeted. The minister said he was happy the Budget proposed opening of 100 new Sainik Schools in the country.

The allocation on pensions for defence personnel is Rs 1.15 lakh crore as against the revised allocation of Rs 1.25 lakh crore last year.

It is less than even the revised budget allocation made last year.

Apart from that, the allocation for civil works under the Ministry of Defence is Rs 15,257 crore as against the revised allocation of Rs 15,914.06 crore in last year’s Budget.

The civil allocation includes allocation for construction of roads, bridges, government-in-aid to state governments and housing in Northeast regions and border areas.

The Defence Ministry has carried out extensive construction work on the borders after the border tension with China erupted in April last year.

The estimated budget for the civil works was Rs 14,500 crore and in revised estimates it increased to Rs 15,914.06 crore.

The government spent Rs 1,414.06 crore extra in building infrastructure across the border.