CDS Rawat dismisses concerns over defence budget, suggests new ideas to boost military funding

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat on Sunday dismissed any cause of concerns over the hike of six percent budget and suggested that he would be looking at other options like increasing the retirement age and prioritising defence procurements for better budget management.

In an interaction with India Today TV, Gen Bipin Rawat said, “We will be prioritising our requirements for acquisitions and after that if we need more funds. We will take the requirements of the government.”

He was commenting on the defence budget which has been hiked by six percent to Rs 3.37 lakh crore and several experts are terming it inadequate. Asked about the budget management, Gen Bipin Rawat said, “As the CDS, my mandate is to prioritise the then procurement of equipment keeping in mind the balanced modernisation of the three services.”

To keep the requirement of spending funds under control, Gen Bipin Rawat said the “purchase of equipment should be done in a phased manner keeping in mind the downtime of equipment due to the mandatory servicing or overhauling of equipment.”

In this line, several procurement plans have been curtailed by the forces including the decrease in the number of Ka-31 choppers and P-8I surveillance planes by the Navy.

Gen Bipin Rawat said the defence forces should also find alternative sources of funding like getting funds from infrastructure projects which are used by civilians too and building of houses through the sale of excess land used by the other government agencies.

“We should resource the defence budget by supplementing it through other means like getting additional funds from speeding up ‘Make in India’ in defence which will bring down the cost of equipment, central road infrastructure fund and using the New Moti Bagh model for the construction of buildings and houses,” he said.

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