New Delhi, January 8: A parliamentary panel, headed by BJP MP Kalraj Mishra, slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government for not allocating enough fund for armed forces. The panel also criticised the Finance Ministry, headed by Arun Jaitley, for its reluctance to create a non-lapsable fund for defence expenditure. The panel said it doesn't understand the rationale behind inadequate fund allocated for defence forces.
"The allocation under capital budget not only fell far short of projections by Ministry of Defence, but the allocation does not even cover committed liabilities," the Standing Committee on Defence said in its report tabled in Lok Sabha on Monday. The Defence Ministry sought Rs 1.72 lakh crore under the capital budget for 2018, however, only Rs 93,982 crore was allocated by the Ministry of Finance. Narendra Modi Government Approves 10% Reservation For Upper Castes Ahead of Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
The panel also pointed out that in 2018-19 the shortfall was Rs 17,756 crore for the Army, Rs 15,691 crore for the Navy and Rs 41,924 crore for the Air Force. The committee also slammed the Ministry of Finance for its reluctance to create a 'Non-Lapsable Capital Fund' for defence forces unlike the demand of armed personnel who want unspent funds to be kept in a non-lapsable pool so that capital acquisition can be made using it.
"The very fact that the allocation of resources under Capital Budget for the year 2018-19 (Budget Estimate) which is not even sufficient to cover committed liabilities leaving alone new projects and other capital requirements strengthens the Committee's case for creation of such a fund," it said.
"The Committee was particularly alarmed to note from his oral evidence that although the Ministry of Defence had delegated financial powers up to Rs 14,097 crore to the VCOAS towards security-related issues, there was no separate allocation for this in the Capital Budget allocation in 2018-19," it noted. Appearing before the panel earlier this year, the Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) said that the marginal increase in capital budget allocation for Army had dashed hopes for modernisation.
"Hence, the Ministry is left with no other option but to reduce resources for the security of military stations or compromise on other acquisitions," the committee said. On allocation of funds for defence forces, the panel said the expenditure incurred was Rs 10,81,644 crore during 12th Five Year Plan as against a projection of Rs 11,39,000 crore.