New Delhi: The Defence budget for the first time touched the figure of Rs 3.05 crore as the government hiked it by Rs 19,873 crore from last year’s allocation of Rs 2,85,423 crore, the government said today.
Presenting the Interim Budget in Parliament, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said: “Our Defence Budget will be crossing Rs 3,00,000 crore for the first time in 2019-20”.
The minister made it clear that “for securing our borders and to maintain preparedness of the highest order, if necessary, additional funds would be provided”.
Goyal stated that for taking care of the honour of the soldiers and Defence forces, the government has already dispersed Rs 35,000 crore for the implementation of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme which had been pending for the last 40 years.
“The previous governments announced it in three budgets but sanctioned a mere Rs 500 crore in 2014-15 Interim Budget; in contrast, we have already disbursed over, Rs 35,000 crore after implementing the Scheme in its’ true spirit,” Goyal said in his speech.
The government also announced a substantial hike in the Military Service Pay (MSP) of all service personnel and special allowances given to Naval and Air Force personnel deployed in high-risk duties.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman thanked Goyal for emphasising the importance of Defence forces where OROP and modernisation of armed forces have been given priority.
The 7 per cent hike in the budget has come at a time when the armed forces have a huge load of committed liabilities, meaning the amount due to be paid for deals which have already been done such as the Rafale combat aircraft contract and the Rs 40,000 crore acquisition of the S-400 air defence missile systems from Russia.
Under the strategic partnership policy, the government is also about to initiate different Defence deals including 114 multirole fighters, six conventional submarines under the Project-75 India and over 300 helicopters of different types for the three services.