A whopping Rs 4 lakh crore ($59-bn) worth of military procurement involving 136 proposals were cleared by the government in the last three years as part of efforts to modernise the armed forces.
The government incurred a capital expenditure of Rs 1.75 lakh crore on purchase of defence platforms for armed forces between 2014-2015 and December, 2016.
The details about military modernisation were given by Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre while replying to questions relating to defence preparedness in Rajya Sabha.
Asked about Naval version of Tejas light combat aircraft, he said its development is under progress but is likely to be delayed.
“The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accorded approval of 136 capital procurement cases at an estimated cost of Rs 4 lakh crore during the last two financial years (2014-15 and 2015-16) and current year 2016-17 (up to January 2017),” said Bhamre.
He said out of the total deals cleared, 96 cases involving Rs 2.46 lakh crore are under the ‘Buy (Indian)’ ‘Buy & Make (Indian)’ and ‘Make’ categories.
Listing initiatives for defence indigenisation, Bhamre said the government has issued 342 industrial licences covering 205 Indian companies for manufacture of a wide range of defence equipment till June 2016.
The Minister said the volume of total military procurement in 2014-15 was Rs 65,583 crore out of which purchase from foreign vendors totalled Rs 25,984 crore and from Indian firms, the amount was Rs 39,598 crore.
In 2015-16, the total procurement was estimated at Rs 62,341 crore out of which purchases from foreign and domestic vendors were Rs 23,192 crore and Rs 23,192 crore respectively.
To a separate question, Bhamre said budget estimates (BE) for defence services and defence ministry was Rs 2.58 lakh crore in 2016-17 whereas for year 2017-18, the budget estimate (BE) has been pegged at Rs 2.74 lakh crore.
The allocation in 2017-18 is around six per cent more than BE for the year 2016-17.
He said there was a under-utilisation of funds to the tune of Rs 172 crore and Rs 3,675 crore in 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively.
About funds given to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), he said the premier agency was given Rs 13,716 crore in 2014-15, Rs 13,540 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 13,593 crore in 2016-17
He said the DRDO has developed various nutritious and protein-rich foods to cater to the requirements of service personnel deployed at high altitude and in snow bound areas.
To a separate query on whether the government is considering 57 multi-role carrier-borne fighters for Navy, Bhamre said a global Request for Information for it was issued on January 25.
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