Mumbai attacks trigger 34 percent hike in defence allocation (Third Lead)

February 16th, 2009 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) Holding a “threshold has been crossed” with the Mumbai terror attacks, the Indian government hiked the allocation for defence by 34 percent to Rs.141,703 crore (Rs.1.417 trillion) in the interim budget for 2009-10 External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee presented in the Lok Sabha Monday.

The allocation is nearly 15 percent of the total interim budget of Rs.953,231 crore for the fiscal beginning April 1.

“We are going through tough times,” Mukherjee said while explaining the rationale for the hike.

“The Mumbai terror attacks have given an entirely new dimension to cross-border terrorism. A threshold has been crossed. Our security environment has deteriorated considerably,” said Mukherjee, who was presenting the budget on behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is recovering from coronary bypass surgery.

The interim budget was presented as the government in now at the fag end of its tenure and general elections are due in April-May. The budget is normally presented on the last day of February.

Of the allocation for the fiscal beginning April 1, plan expenditure has been pegged at Rs.86,879 crore against Rs.73,600 crore for the financial year just ending.

This includes Rs.54,824 crore for capital expenditure as against Rs.41,000 crore in the revised estimates for 2008-09.

In real terms, however, the budgetary hike works out to only 23.6 percent as the revised expenditure for 2008-09 has been placed at Rs.114,600 crore against the allocation of Rs.105,600 crore.

As in the past, the 1.1 million strong Indian Army has received the lion’s share of 41 percent or Rs.58,648 crore, with the Indian Navy being allocated Rs.8,322 crore and the Indian Air Force Rs.14,318 crore.

Interestingly, the army’s allocation is even greater that the Rs.54,824 crore set aside for capital expenditure for all three services.

And, in the case of capital expenditure, the bulk of this - almost Rs.20,000 crore - has been set aside for the air force, against Rs.17,767.95 crore for the army and Rs.11,873.73 crore for the navy.

For the Indian Army, the budgetary hike - minus the allocation for capital expenditure - works out to a little less than Rs.10,000 crore over the revised estimates of Rs.48,195 crore. The original allocation for the Army in the 2008-09 proposals was Rs.36,270 crore.

For the Indian Navy, the hike is a mere Rs.288 crore over the revised estimates of Rs.8,034 crore for the fiscal just ending but a rise of Rs.901 crore over the original allocation.

For the Indian Air Force, the hike works out to Rs.1,109 crore over the revised estimates Rs.12,199 crore for the closing fiscal against an original allocation of Rs.10,855 crore.

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