Defence experts have opined that modernisation of the armed forces is urgently needed to ensure the country’s security, and that provision for doing so needs to be allotted in the Budget. With the forces putting their hopes in Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to meet the challenge, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday assured the Rajya Sabha that there will be no compromise on the country’s defence preparedness due to fund constraints.

Singh, while replying to queries during Question Hour, said that precaution has been taken to ensure that there are no shortcomings.

“We have taken precaution that there is no shortcoming on the country’s defence preparedness in any way by way of budget constraints. We will not compromise on India’s defence preparedness,” the minister assured the members.

He said as far as the country’s defence preparedness is concerned, “we will not allow any adverse impact on it due to fund constraints”.

In reply to another supplementary, Rajnath Singh said in absolute terms, the defence budget has increased in the last few years.

In 2019-20, he said, one-third (32.19 per cent) of the total capital expenditure of the central government is being spent on defence which is the highest among all other central ministries.

The minister also said there is no under-utilisation of funds in the defence sector, but called for the need to further modernise the defence sector, steps for which are being taken.

He denied there were any procedural delays due to bureaucratic hurdles, saying, “There are no procedural delays as powers have been transferred to forces now.”

There is no question of under-utilisation as more than 100 per cent utilisation of defence budget has been achieved, he said.

Singh also said in a written reply that during the period 2015-19, the government has taken steps to delegate substantial financial powers to the service headquarters for both normal and emergent procurements, which has resulted in faster decision making and ensured full and optimal utilisation of allocated budget.

With Inputs From PTI