New Delhi, Feb 17 | A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Wednesday analysed budgetary allocation and expenditure of Ministry of Defence, which has been allocated Rs 4,78,196 crore in the Budget 2021-2022.
Expenditure on salaries of armed forces and civilians, modernisation of armed forces, production establishments, maintenance, and research and development organisations were the major issues of the meeting.
The 31-member Committee that includes 21 parliamentarians from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha also discussed issues of large pension expenditure, lower capital outlay, and high import dependence for defence procurement.
Opposition members in the Standing Committee on Defence has learnt to have raised objection on some points but the government reiterated that the allocation to the Defence Ministry is the highest 14 per cent among all ministries of the central government in this budget. The Committee held its first sitting to examine the Demands for Grants of the Ministry of Defence 2021-2022 after this year’s budget was represented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament on February 1.
Oral evidence was also presented by the representatives of the Ministry of Defence on General Defence Budget, Department of Military Affairs (DMA) and Ministry of Defence (Civil) after the Committee started its meeting at 11 a.m. in the Parliament premises.
The Committee later discussed issues and allocations to nine Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) that include Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bharat Electronics Limited, Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited, Goa Shipyard Limited, Bharat Dynamics Limited, Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited, BEML and Hindustan Shipyard Limited.
The 31 members of the Committee also discussed regarding this year’s budget allocations to the Directorate General, Defence Estates (DGDE)– the Headquarters of the Indian Defence Estates Service which provides advisory inputs on all Cantonments and Land matters to the Ministry of Defence and its Service Headquarters like Army, Navy, Air Force and other organisations.
Issues of ex-servicemen welfare were also key points in the discussion which later covered other areas like Budget allocation for Canteen Stores Department (CSD) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
The demands proposed for Navy and Joint Staff, as well as Army’s different sections were also part of the discussion. For Army, the Committee members included issues of Military Engineer Services (MES); Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA); National Cadet Corps (NCC); Sainik Schools; and Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme.
Capital outlay on Defence Services and Married Accommodation Project (MAP) as well as pension issues of Ministry of Defence’s all services and departments were pointed out elaborately in the meeting.
BJP MP Jual Oram, the chairman, along with most of the members of the committee took part in the meeting.