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Budget 2019: No mention of Defence outlay in Sitharaman speech

India’s defence budget, although among the world’s highest, is barely enough to cover the ambitious modernisation goals that the country has set for itself.

ET Online|
Jul 05, 2019, 01.28 PM IST
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Budget 2019: No mention of Defence outlay in Sitharaman speech
Sitharaman also made a blink-and-miss mention of the defence sector while the financial outlay wasn't mentioned.
NEW DELHI: Nirmala Sithraman’s maiden budget focussed on increased government reform in several sectors, including taxation and housing. India’s beleaguered defence sector got a leg-up from the government by increasing taxation on items ‘Made in India’ but strategic insight wasn’t abandoned as import on defence equipment not “Made in India” is now exempt from basic custom duty.

Sitharaman also made a blink-and-miss mention of the defence sector while the financial outlay wasn't mentioned.

India’s defence budget, although among the world’s highest, is barely enough to cover the ambitious modernisation goals that the country has set for itself. In the Interim Budget announced on February 1, 2019, the government allocated a little over Rs 3 lakh crore for the defence budget (excluding pensions), but the bulk of this money, as the norm has been, would go towards ‘Pay and Allowances.’

The Interim Budget, presented by Piyush Goyal, allocated Rs 3,05,000 crore ($43 billion) for defence spending while in last year's budget, the allocation to defence was Rs 2,85,000 crore ($40 billion). Although it represented a hike in rupee terms, the interim budget's allocation was actually less than the previous year's when one factors in rupee depreciation during that period.

"The previous governments announced it (OROP) 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.

Also, as reported by Economic Times in 2018, the defence budget for the FY 2018-19 was increased by 7.81 per cent to Rs 2.95 lakh crore over FY 2017-18’s Rs 2.74 lakh crore allocation. The defence outlay was 1.58 percent of the GDP for 2018-19, the lowest such figure since the 1962 war with China wherein it was 1.65 per cent.
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