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Judicious assessment of defense budget UPSC NOTE

 Need for a judicious assessment of India's defense budget allocation

  • This is best illustrated by the IAF going in for 97 more Tejas Mk1A fighters to overcome the deficit in squadron strength.

  • Though this was to be achieved by the 114 multi role fighter aircraft project that the IAF has been pushing for. 

  • The threat on the northern borders is a live one, and it would be unprofessional to dismiss our western neighbour’s present benign stance as indicative of a lessening of risk. 

  • India needs to be prepared for both. 

  • The imperativeness of a judicious assessment of how India plans to prosecute the next war could

not be more pressing in these days of electoral one-upmanship.

  • Enough has been written on the inescapable necessity of accretion in sea power to deter China in the environs of the Malacca Strait and further east, as also in the Indian Ocean. 

  • The planning and budgeting in the Indian military before the Russia-Ukraine war was for a short sharp conflict. 

  • The logistics design was to stock up on 10i (10 days intense) war, and build up to a 40i scenario.

  • It needs no reiteration that the armed forces should be technologically modern at any given time

  • Developing a local defence industry takes decades, necessitating a smart balance to be maintained between imports and indigenous accretions to ensure the required potency. 

  • India’s defence Budget, in real terms, has been more or less stagnant

  • Defence expenditure (revenue and capital), as a percentage of central government expenditure, has been declining from around 16.4% in 2012-13 to 13.3% in 2022-23

  • The Ministry of Defence had asked for ₹1,76,346 crore in 2023–24 for capital acquisitions but only ₹1,62,600 crore was allotted, creating a deficit of ₹13,746 crore.

  • The Global Innovation Index 2022 pegs India’s research and development expenditure at just 0.7% of its GDP which places it 53rd globally.

  • China, incidentally, spent $421 billion in 2022, which is 2.54% of its GDP

  • Though the research and development allocation needs a substantial jump, it is good that 25% of the allocation was for the private sector

  • The government’s emphasis on indigenisation through the Innovations For Defence Excellence (iDEX) scheme and service-specific projects such as the Baba Mehar Singh competition for unmanned aerial vehicles by the IAF, and similar ones in the other two services, are laudable.

  • The restructuring of the Ordnance Factory Board and promulgation of negative lists for imports instil confidence in the private sector for assured contracts. 

  • While all these are welcome, and the increase in defence exports heartening, it must be accepted that this drive still has a long gestation period.

  • The momentum should be sustained with a continuum in policy making and adequate defence budgeting by making them election-proof in our boisterous democracy — bipartisan statesmanship would be key in this endeavour.

  • Defence Budget accounts for 2% of the country's projected GDP for 2023-24


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Judicious assessment of defense budget UPSC NOTE
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