Defence Ministry struggling to get budget allocation: Antony

Defence Ministry struggling to get budget allocation: Antony

The Defence Ministry is not very hopeful of getting an additional Rs 40,000 crore for modernisation of the armed forces with Defence Minister A K Antony today saying he was struggling to get even the Rs 1.93 lakh crore allotted by the government in the budget.

"Now I am struggling to get the budgetary amount," he told reporters here when asked if he was hopeful of getting the additional Rs 40,000 crore sought by his Ministry for modernising the three Services.

The Defence Minister was interacting with reporters on the sidelines of an Army seminar on defence communication networks.

Antony, however, ruled out any cut in the defence budget, saying, "These are all rumours. Our Ministry is trying to speed up (the modernisation process) without compromising procedures. From our Ministry's side, there is no question of slowing down."

The Defence Ministry has been allocated Rs 1.93 lakh crore in the budget for the current fiscal. It has also made a demand for an additional Rs 40,000 crore for meeting modernisation requirements of the three Services.

Experts feel shortage of funds may lead delays in major modernisation programmes of the armed forces including plans to acquire the 126 combat aircraft.

The Defence Minister had yesterday asked the Armed Forces to focus in the remaining part of the current fiscal mainly on projects affecting their operational readiness.

During a review meeting, he told the three Services Vice Chiefs that they should adopt a "focussed approach" for the remaining part of the financial year and speed up procurements which have a direct linkage to their operational readiness.

Asked about the action taken in the Tatra truck case, the Defence Minister said, "The entire thing is with CBI and an inquiry is going on. You better check with CBI."

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