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NO SHORTAGE OF DEFENCE BUDGET: GOVT
The Government on Friday said in the Lok Sabha that there is no shortage in the defence budget and that India for the first time has reached the 25th spot among defence export nations.
Answering questions during the zero hour on the need to increase the defence budget in view of recent developments on the borders, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt said India’s spending between 2011 and 2020 rose 76 per cent as against the global average of 9 per cent.
Assuring the opposition members, Bhatt said India is the third largest spender in the defence sector after the US and China and there is no shortage in the defence budget which has increased as per the requirements.
He quoted the report of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) saying India’s spending between 2011 and 2020 rose 76 per cent in comparison to the global average of 9 per cent.
As per SIPRI, he said India is the third highest spender on defence after the US and China.
“There is no shortage of budget. Also in 2020, India for the first time reached the 25th spot among defence export nations for the first time,” Bhatt said.
In reply to questions from DMK’s T R Balu that Indian defence expenditure was low in terms of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) , Bhat said “The overall trend in defence spending is based on defence capability development requirements and the expenditure on defence services, including modernisation, and has been increasing year after year. Defence budget which was Rs 2,53,346 crore in 2013-14 has more than doubled to Rs 5,25,166 crore in 2022-23.
More importantly, spending under capital outlay which includes modernisation and infrastructure development of the defence services, has grown by 76 per cent to Rs 1,52,370 crore in 2022-23 from Rs 86,741 crore in 2013-14. The defence budget is the highest among all ministries,” he said.
Bhatt said India has been on the front foot on the defence needs and responses as has been seen in Galwan borders.
Balu had pointed out that defence spending was only 2.33 per cent of the GDP, lower than in the US and Russia.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in his intervention said the Kargil Review Committee which studied the defence expenditure issue in detail had not recommended fixing of the defence budget as a percentage of the GDP.
“The committee had illustrious members who were not in favour of fixing the defence budget as a percentage of the GDP and had recommended targeting of maximum value against every rupee spent.
“The committee said there was no need for a fixed GDP to budget allocation ratio and advised prioritisation of defence spending, restructuring of restructure forces efficiency in defence production. We are doing all that the panel”, Singh said.