The Narendra Modi government on Saturday allocated Rs 3.37 lakh crore for the defence budget for the next financial year, marking a 6% increase in allocation compared to the Budget presented in July. Last year, Rs 3.18 lakh crore had been earmarked for the defence forces.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman did not mention defence allocations in her Budget speech, but emphasised that national security was top priority for the government, Hindustan Times reported.
Sitharaman, who was the defence minister in the first Narendra Modi government, earmarked Rs 1.13 lakh crore for capital outlay to purchase new weapons, aircraft, warships and other military hardware. The revenue expenditure, including expenses on payment of salaries and maintenance of establishments, has been pegged at Rs 2.09 lakh crore. The allocation does not include Rs 1.33 lakh crore set aside for pensions.
Experts told the newspaper that lack of adequate funds could affect the military’s modernisation programmes. This year’s budget, excluding pensions, is a mere 1.5% of India’s Gross Domestic Product.