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Oppn voices concern over shortage of defence equipment

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Opposition today expressed concern over shortage of equipment, falling expenditure for defence modernisation and huge dependence on import by armed forces.

Participating in a debate on Demand for Grants for Defence in the Lok Sabha, Sugata Bose (Congress) said it was unfortunate that a large proportion of the defence budget remains unutilised.

About Rs 13,000 crore was under capital expenditure was returned back in 2015-16, he added.

Lamenting the fact that Indian armed forces are heavily dependent on imports, Bose said, the did not give any incentive for defence related manufacturing.

Taking an apparent dig at being shifted from Defence Ministry to as Chief Minister, the member quipped that this is having a great difficulty in giving a "full-time Raksha Mantri."

"Someone found Goan delicacy more worthwhile than providing nutritious food to our jawans," he added in a swipe at Parrikar.

Pinaki Misra (BJD) said, "This House has been bipartisan in the matter of defence but this will not prevent us from voicing our concerns."

Defence outlay as percentage of GDP has been coming down, he said.

"We are the only country in the world having nuclear capability which is reducing defence outlay," he said.

"And the other sad part is that the budgetary outlay is not fully spent and some portion lapses," he said.

Funds for capital expenditure of the overall defence budget have also been coming down, Misra said.

Referring to CAG report on defence, he said, it had also referred to shortage of equipment in the armed forces.

Claiming that 'Make-in-India' has been a non-starter as far as defence is concerned, the BJD member said not a single rupee has come under FDI till October.

On OROP, he said the has alloted Rs 12,400 crore for this but only about Rs 3,000 crore has been spent in 9 months.

A P Jithender Reddy (TRS) said the farmers are suffering because they don't get MSP for their produce, common man is suffering due to demonetisation while soldiers are suffering due to shortage of arms and ammunition.

He also referred to the BSF jawan who had complained of poor food quality on social media some months back.

"I would like to highlight facts about DRDO...Recently Navy rejected Tejas aircraft designed by DRDO," he said.

Anand Rao Adsul (SS) said there is an urgent need to modernise weapons and equipment of armed forces.

Even after surgical strike, he said, ceasefire is being violated by Pakistan on the border and government should take action against this.

He also suggested compulsory military training for college students in the country as is the case in many countries including Israel.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 16 2017. 21:13 IST