The defence allocations in the interim budget 2019-20 have again been a disappointment. While the capital outlay has crossed Rs 1 trillion for the first time, it hardly represents any hike over the revised figures for 2018-19 once inflation and rupee depreciation — since roughly 70% of our weapons are imported — are accounted for.
On the other hand, the bill on salaries and pensions has ballooned, thanks to the large size of the Indian armed forces and the implementation of one rank one pension. A simple addition of pay and allowances of serving personnel and pension of retired veterans returns the sum of Rs 2.33 trillion.
Even if this is an election year, the story has been the same for a long time now. The reality is that India is a developing country with multiple competing demands over scarce capital. Read More