Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday increased defence budget to over Rs three lakh crore for the financial year 2019-20 in the budget presented in Lok Sabha.
“Our defence budget will be crossing Rs 3,00,000 crore for the first time in 2019-20. For securing our borders and to maintain preparedness of the highest order, if necessary, additional funds would be provided,” Mr Goyal said during his Budget speech.
Taking pot shots at the Congress, the minister termed ‘One Rank One Pension’ as a longstanding demand of Indian armed forces for the past 40 years and said the Centre has managed to disburse Rs 35,000 crore to veterans so far. Further, he announced a substantial hike in military service pay and said special allowances were given to naval and air force personnel deployed in high-risk duties.
“The previous governments announced it in three budgets but sanctioned a mere Rs 500 crore in 2014-15 interim budget. In contrast we have already disbursed over Rs 35,000 crore after implementing the scheme in its true spirit,” Mr Goyal stated during his Budget speech.
The finance minister further, promised to provide additional funds for defence if and when needed.
OROP for military veterans was one of the first public promises made by Narendra Modi in September 2013 after being declared the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. Following Modi’s announcement in 2013, the UPA government allotted Rs 500 crore for OROP in the interim budget in 2014.
As per the government’s documents, Rs 3,05,296 crore have been provided in the Budget Estimates for 2019-20 compared to Rs 2,82,733 crore provided in 2018-19 Budget Estimates.
The figures were revised to Rs 2,85,423 crore in the Revised Estimates of 2018-19.
On the issue of strengthening Defence and National Security, the Interim Budget 2019-20 states that “our soldiers protect our borders in tough conditions and they are our pride and honour.”
The government also announced substantial hike in the Military Service Pay (MSP) of all service personnel and special allowances given to Naval and Air Force personnel deployed in high risk duties.”