India hikes defence expenditure 10 percent to Rs.1,056 bn

February 29th, 2008 - 6:42 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram
(Second Lead)

New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) India Friday hiked its defence expenditure for fiscal 2008-09 by 10 percent to Rs.1,056 billion ($26.5 billion), with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram saying additional resources would not be a constraint if they were needed for purchasing military hardware. The allocation accounts for 14 percent of the government’s total spending of Rs.7,508 billion during the fiscal beginning April 1.

“The allocation for defence is being raised by 10 percent from Rs.96,000 crore (Rs.960 billion) to Rs. One lakh five thousand six hundred crore (Rs.1,056 billion),” Chidambaram said while presenting the budget in the Lok Sabha Friday.

“I have assured the raksha mantri (defence minister) that more money would also be provided if necessary, especially for capital expenditure,” he added.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony immediately welcomed the hike, saying it would aid in the armed forces’ modernisation drive.

“I am happy. You have heard the finance minister say on the floor of the house that more money would be provided, if required, particularly for capital expenditure,” Antony told reporters in parliament after the budget had been presented.

“This will aid in the modernisation drive of the armed forces,” Antony said, adding: “After the finance minister’s statement, I can say I am happy with the budget.”

Of the total allocation, Rs.480 billion has been earmarked for the purchase of hardware and Rs.579 billion for the three services and for R&D.

Of the three services, the 1.1 billion-strong Indian Army will expectedly get the lion’s share of Rs.362 billion, followed by the Indian Air Force (Rs.108 billion) and the Indian Navy (Rs.74 billion).

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been allocated Rs.33 billion.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Business |