The defence sector, which receives the lion's share of the budget, is critical for the armed forces which have undertaking several modernisation and upgradation projects

Tabling her maiden budget, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday allocated Rs 431,010.79 crore to the defence sector amounting 15.47 per cent of the total Budget. The outlay for the defence sector, however, remains constant as the interim budget presented before the Lok Sabha elections.

Sitharaman, who headed the defence portfolio in the Narendra Modi government’s previous term, failed to mention the defence outlay in her budget speech, however, said that there has been substantial increase under every head of the defence in the press conference that followed later. The budget is to be divided between the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Navy, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Ordnance Factories (OF).

The interim budget presented in Lok Sabha in February allocated Rs 3.05 lakh crore “for securing borders and to maintain preparedness of the highest order.” This was a hike of around Rs 10,000 crore from Rs 2.95 lakh crore in the previous year. In addition, an amount of Rs 1,12,079.57 crore was allocated for the defence pensions, which exceeded the allocation of Rs 1,08,248.80 crore made for capital expenditure.

Reacting on the budget, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “By bringing in socio-economic transformation, it is a futuristic budget. It will be successful in taking India to $5 trillion economy. It has taken care of all the sections of society, be it poor, backward or rich people.”

The 2018 defence budget, estimated at 1.58 per cent of GDP, witnessed an increase of 5.91 per cent for FY 2018-19 to Rs 2,95,511.41 crore. The defence sector, which receives the lion’s share of the budget, is critical for the armed forces which have undertaken several modernisation and upgradation projects.