By Lt Gen Prakash Katoch
27 Oct , 2016
Defence Budget for FY 2017-2018 will be announced in few months from now. The usual pattern will likely be followed: the three Services will work out their wish lists; HQ IDs will put the lists together, undertake examination as possible and send it to MoD perhaps with some extra emphasis to the Service that the CISC is from; MoD will do their own best and forward it to the Ministry of Finance (MoF), and; MoF will simply say the pre-determined figure – this much and no more. Mind you all this will happen in absence of a cohesive national security strategy (NSS) and comprehensive defence review (CDR).
Defence Budget 2016-2017 amounted to a ‘negative budget’ over the previous year, merely cut-pasting the previous year’s allocation.
The Finance Minister’s speech in Parliament for Union Budget 2016-2017 on February 29, 2016 placed on the net contained less than 12 lines on defence that read, “Defence of every square inch of our mother land comes before anything else. So far, we have been over dependent on imports, with its attendant unwelcome spin-offs. Our Government has already permitted FDI in defence so that the Indian-controlled entities also become manufacturers of defence equipments, not only for us, but for export. We are thus pursuing the Make in India policy to achieve greater self-sufficiency in the area of defence equipment, including aircraft. Members of this august House would have noted that we have been both transparent and quick in making defence equipment related purchase decisions, thus keeping our defence forces ready for any eventuality. This year too, I have provided adequately for the needs of the armed forces. As against likely expenditure of this year of 2,22,370 crore the budget allocation for 2015-16 is 2,46,727 crore.”