India keeps aside Rs90,000 Cr in Budget 23-24 for fuel, ammo, spares with eye on China, Ukraine war

India keeps aside Rs90,000 Cr in Budget 23-24 for fuel, ammo, spares with eye on China, Ukraine war

India keeps aside Rs90,000 Cr in Budget 23-24 for fuel, ammo, spares with eye on China, Ukraine war

New Delhi: Even as India’s defence budget saw a significant hike of around 13% for the financial year 2023-24, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has also allocated a major jump of 44% in the sustenance budget of the Indian military.

This amount, which is around Rs 90,000 crore will be used for maintenance of weapons, equipment and other assets, replenishing stocks of fuel and ammunition and procurement of critical spares along with other capabilities. This amount excludes pay and other allowances.

“This will cater to sustenance of weapon systems, platforms including ships, aircraft and their logistics, boost fleet serviceability, emergency procurement of critical ammunition and spares; procuring of niche capabilities to mitigate capability gaps wherever required, progress stocking of military reserves, strengthening forward defences,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

The 2023-24 defence budget, which amounts to Rs 5.94-lakh crore, includes pensions to the tune of Rs 1.38-lakh crore. The defence budget 2023-24 constitutes 13.18% of the total budget of Rs 45,03,097 crore.

The sustenance funds allocated in the budget 2023-24 is significantly higher than the amount of Rs 62,431 crore in the previous fiscal period.

The need for additional funds in the sustenance budget for the Indian military is crucial due to the continuing military build-up along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.

This major hike comes in the backdrop of the war between Russia and Ukraine which has lead to an increase in global oil prices and problems in procuring spares for the Soviet and Russia-origin military hardware in India’s armoury.

“Moreover, with heightened tensions with China, there has been an increase in border deployment of defence forces, which are undergoing extensive training and an exorbitant amount of flying. The expenditure towards fuel, transportation and logistics costs thus went up and so did the need for additional ammunition and spares,” an official was quoted as saying by ‘The Indian Express’.

Apart from this, the budget 2023-24 presented in Parliament by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, included an allocation of Rs 1,62,600 crore for capital expenditure by the Indian armed forces. This fund will be used for procuring new weapons, aircraft, tanks, warships, armoured personnel carriers and other military hardware.

“The armed forces have to be battle ready to meet any eventuality. Towards that end, non-salary revenue outlay has been enhanced significantly from Rs 62,431 crore in Budget Estimates (BE) 2022-23 to Rs 90,000 crore in BE 2023-24, representing a 44 per cent jump,” the defence ministry said in a statement.
For the financial year 2022-23, the allocation set aside in the union budget for capital expenditure was Rs 1.52 lakh crore. However, the revised estimate revealed the expenditure to be Rs 1.50 lakh crore.

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