Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Govt Puts Brakes On Defence Purchases
This Is in Contradiction To Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Promise Of Speedy Revamp Of Weapons To Have The Forces Fully Prepared For Any Eventuality
New Delhi : The Government has slammed brakes on the defence purchases in the current financial year by quietly shelving Rs 13,000 crore in the budget for the three Armed Forces.
This is in contradiction to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of speedy revamp of weapons to have the Forces fully prepared for any eventuality.
The Defence Ministry was last week asked to re-appropriate this much money from the capital outlays towards the revenue expenditure which means a cut of over Rs 4,000 crore in the purchase list of each of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
The alibi for moving the money to the revenue account is to fulfill the Modi government’s commitment to the military veterans for “one-rank, one-pension” (OROP). Though Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar put the cost of OROP at Rs 6,000 crore to Rs 8,000 crore, the Finance Ministry went asked the Defence Ministry to divert money from the capital account as it went by the estimate of the controller-general of defence accounts that it would cost around Rs 14,200 crore. The capital outlay in the maiden budget of the Modi government by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was Rs 94,587 crore in the total defence budget of Rs 2,29,000 crore.
About 80 per cent of the capital outlay goes into servicing the committed liabilities of contracts already signed for purchases.
Though Parrikar has been blaming A K Antony, the defence minister in the UPA government, for big backlog of acquisitions, he is now left with little for the purchase of new guns, warships and fighter planes to replace the outdated weapons and as such the Indian Forces will be handicapped in the event of any military misadventure by the neighbours.
The defence experts find no weight in Parrikar’s boast last week to put in place a new defence procurement policy by March for faster acquisitions. They say the purchases do not materialise overnight and more so when there is no money in the kitty to go for speed-buying.
They say the capital outlay cut of Rs 13,000 crore would delay the Navy’s order for three additional frigates of the Shivalik class that were to be made at Mazgaon Docks in Mumbai and the Army’s plan to acquire new small arms.
The cut may also affect a tottering IAF plan to buy medium multi-role combat aircraft Rafale from French firm Dassault Aviation within this financial year. The IAF’s plan to buy the Rafale alone is estimated to cost Rs 15,000 crore in the first year as per a report of the parliamentary standing committee tabled in the Lok Sabha last month by BJP MP and retired Major General BC Khanduri.
The reduction in the capital outlay has also cast shadow on the joint Army-IAF plan to acquire Apache-64D attack helicopters from the US-based Boeing, though the government may be forced to go through placement of the order in the light of the US President Barack Obama coming here as the chief guest of the Republic Day Parade on January 26.
By FPJ Bureau : http://freepressjournal.in/govt-puts-brakes-on-defence-purchases/#sthash.0vu0okpg.dpuf