Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 1
With Indian and Chinese forces locked in a military standoff for more than nine months now, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Monday announced an 18.72 per cent hike in military ‘capital’ Budget meant to buy new weapons, planes, warships, guns, UAVs and material.
‘Capital Budget’, meant for new equipment and infrastructure, is pegged at Rs 1,35,060 crore (approx $18 billion) for the Ministry of Defence (MoD). This is up by 18.72 per cent from the allocation of Rs 1,13,734 under ‘capital’ head for the ongoing fiscal ending March 31, 2021. In rupee terms the hike is an additional Rs 21,326 crore.
Also, the allocation is 24.36 per cent of the entire country’s spend on ‘capital’, which means almost one-fourth of new development will be through the MoD.
Overall, the military Budget, minus pensions, is pegged at Rs 3,62,345 crore, up by 7.4 per cent from last year. If pensions are added, the military Budget will touch Rs 4,78, 195 crore (approx $63.75 billion). To explain, this would be 13.72 per cent of the entire country’s Budget. In the ongoing fiscal, the Budget was Rs 4,71,372 crore and works out to be 15.4 per cent of the country’s entire Budget. China’s military expenditure reached $261 billion in 2019 (details of 2020 spending are still not out) as per a report of Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) titled ‘Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2019’.
India’s military Budget for pensions is down to Rs 1,15,850 crore, which is some Rs 18,000 crore, fewer than the existing Budget. “Last year, the Budget for pensions was more as approximately Rs 18,000 crore was to be paid on account of pension arrears,” a senior official said.
- Military Budget, including pensions, is 13.72% of entire Budget
- Budget for ‘capital’ is some 24.36% of country’s spend
- Jump in ‘capital’ is 18.75%
- The Budget, minus pensions, shows a hike of 7.4%
Boost to real estate
The government on Monday extended the additional tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on interest paid on housing loan for purchase of affordable homes by one more year to March 31, 2022, a move aimed at boosting demand in the sluggish real estate sector. The additional deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh over and above Rs 2 lakh was introduced in the 2019 Budget. IANS
Mega textile parks
The government proposed a scheme for setting up mega textile parks in the country to enable India’s textile industry to become globally competitive, attract large investments and boost employment generation. The parks can be aligned with environmental, social and governance goals to attract international buyers as well as investors. Seven parks will be set up. PTI
Vehicle scrappage policy
The Finance Minister announced the much-awaited voluntary vehicle scrappage policy to phase out old and polluting vehicles. Under the voluntary vehicle scrappage policy, personal vehicles will undergo fitness test after 20 years, while commercial vehicles will require it after completion of 15 years. The policy will cover 51 lakh light motor vehicles. PTI
The Budget will do justice to farmers, generate more employment opportunities and will be beneficial for every section of society. — Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister
FM could have been brave but chose to be timid. The nation needs more direct transfers to the weaker sections to revive demand, restart job creation. — Anand Sharma, cong leader
Crores of poor people, farmers and working class of the country are tired of attractive promises and hollow claims. The policies must be implemented. Will the Budget be able to deal with poverty, unemployment and inflation? — Mayawati, BSP chief
Maharashtra is not seen in this Budget. Funds have been allocated for metro projects in Nashik and Nagpur, but who will talk about the metro car shed project blocked by the Centre in Kanjurmarg (in Mumbai). — Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena MP