Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh ensured the members of the Rajya Sabha that the military readiness of the country will not in any way be compromised due to lack of funds or other factors. The preparedness of the armed forces for any operational requirement has been highly prioritised.
Replying to the question by Congress’ Anand Sharma on “under-utilisation of defence budgets”, Singh quipped that the NDA government has rather gone over the allocated budget. He also added that the defence budget has increased over the years with one-third (32.19%) of the Union government’s total capital expenditure now being spent on defence, which was the highest among all central ministries.
Singh added that from 2015-16 to 2018-19 financial years, 210 contracts for capital procurement of defence equipment were put on paper. This included helicopters, artillery guns and warships to ballistic helmets, radars and bullet-proof jackets.
More than 135 contracts were signed with Indian vendors (PSUs, Ordnance Factory Board, private companies) in line with ‘Make in India’ policy. Singh also added that the transfer of acquisition powers to the forces has not and will not cause functional and procedural delays. “This has resulted in faster decision making and ensured full and optimal utilisation of allocated budget,” he said.