Predicament of being pragmatic for MoD

China’s enduring military adventurism along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh is almost certain to stymie Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat’s plans to try and reduce the services’ salary and pension bills that have risen by 288% and 535%, respectively, over the past decade.

General Rawat’s concerns appear warranted, as the military’s continually rising salary and pension payouts of Rs 1,30,989 crore and Rs 1,33,825 crore for the fiscal year (FY) 2020-21 together account for over 50% of the current overall defence outlay of Rs 4,71,378 crore. A decade earlier in FY 2010-11, these jointly accounted for 40% of the total defence budget of Rs 1,75,771.85 crore.

Correspondingly, the military’s entire capital budget of Rs 1,13,734 crore for FY 2020-21, that caters to long-deferred modernisation, registered an increase of merely 189% during this decade.

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