Aiming to acquire major weapon systems in view of the growing threat on the borders, the government on Wednesday hiked the outlay for Defence by about 13 per cent in the General Budget presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Defence Budget has been increased from Rs 5.25 lakh crore last year to Rs 5.94 crore.
A total of Rs 1.62 lakh crore has been set aside for capital expenditure that includes purchasing new weapons, aircraft, warships and other military hardware. It was Rs 1.52 lakh crore last fiscal.
A significant portion of the modernisation budget would be for the acquisition of weapon systems and equipment from Indian firms under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative.
All three services are seeking to acquire new weapons. While the IAF desires to acquire new fighter aircraft, the Indian Navy is focusing on acquiring submarines under Project 75. The Army also wants to acquire light tanks and artillery guns for its operational requirements on the Ladakh front where the military stand-off with China has not been fully resolved.
The three forces also propose to acquire new weapon systems under the ‘Make in India’ programme. A major focus is also on enhancing our fighting capabilities in the cyber and artificial intelligence domain and upgrades have been planned by the forces for this requirement. The pension budget of the forces has been increased from Rs 1.19 lakh crore last year to Rs 1.38 lakh crore this fiscal.
Elated over the Budget proposals of the finance minister, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the budget was focused on growth and welfare, with a priority to provide support to farmers, women, marginalised sections and the middle class. ”By creating jobs through investments in infrastructure projects paired with increased spending on agriculture, housing, healthcare and manufacturing sectors will help create more opportunities for everyone and help in driving economic growth further ahead!” he tweeted.
Rajnath said the budget demonstrated the government’s commitment towards supporting growth and welfare-oriented policies that will benefit all sections of society including small business owners, farmers, and professionals alike.