Alarmed at Army Vice Chief’s statements: Parliamentary Panel on Defence

The Parliamentary Panel on Defence has said that it is alarmed by Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS)’s statements made earlier in the day, according to a report by CNBC TV18.

The panel has also said that it is ‘aghast to note this dismal scenario’ and that ‘allocation for armed services has to be suitably enhanced’.

VCOAS Lt Gen Sarath Chand had earlier told the Parliamentary Panel on Defence that the 2018-19 Budget had ‘dashed the army’s hopes, according to the report.

The marginal increase in budgetary estimates barely account for inflation, Lt Gen Sarath Chand had told the panel, adding that the army’s 25 ‘Make in India’ projects may end up foreclosed.

The Panel said it was disappointed that the Finance Ministry did not agree to create non-lapsable capital fund for the defence forces. It said that rules need to be changed for creation of non-lapsable defence capital funds.

The VCOAS had also said that the committed liabilities of 2017 will also get passed on to 2018 and that the army will hardly have any funds for modernisation in FY19.

He added that 68 percent of the army’s equipment belongs to the ‘vintage’ category while only 8 percent equipment is ‘state-of-art’. He also expressed concern over the future of Future Ready Combat Vehicles (FRCV).

Speaking to the parliamentary panel on defence, Lt Gen Sarath Chand said that there is a shortage of Rs 12,296 crore in the army’s capital budget and that it will have no option but to leave out some priority acquisition cases.

He said that 63 percent of the army budget goes as salaries, while only 14 percent goes into modernisation, and added that the army needs 20-25 percent of the army budget for modernisation.moneycontrol

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