The Indian Army has listed out ammunition and spares of vintage weapons which it cannot buy due to the shortage of funds. According to media reports, the existing stock of ammunition is not enough to last for even 10 days. It is mandatory for the army to have ammunition to carry out at least 40 days of war.
The Indian Army has decided to compensate 15-20% shortage by cutting down the purchase of expensive weapon systems. The list includes weapon systems like smerch rockets, 9M113 Konkurs, the Anti Tank Guided Missile system, T-90 battle tank and specialised mines used in battlefields. These weapons are crucial for intense war situation.
With this move, the force will be able to save between Rs 600 crore and Rs 800 crore over the next three financial years, reported India Today. Recently, a Parliamentary committee has also raised this issue to the Ministry of Defence to ensure so that the army can meet the requirements of highest level of operational readiness.
In the union budget for the financial year 2018-19, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley allocated Rs 2,95,511.41 crore for defence. The defence budget is hiked by 7.81 % by the previous year’s budget. Out of the total outlay for defence only Rs 99,563.41 is allocated for capital expenditure which includes modernisation expenditure for the forces, whereas Rs 1,95,947.55 for revenue expenditure.
In addition to the defence budget Rs 1,08,853.30 is allocated for defence pensions.
This year’s defence budget is only 1.58% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is lower than last year’s allocation in terms of percentage. After the war against China in 1962 this is the lowest allocation to defence forces.
Despite the recommendation of defence panel that the defence budget for the financial year 2018 should be around 2.5% of the GDP to reduce the shortages of equipment and technology in our defence forces.
Last year, the Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Sarath Chand had also termed, 65% of arms with India to be in ‘vintage category’, reported The Financial Express. The Indian Army chief, General Bipin Rawat had also expressed the need of more allocation of budget for the armed forces.