Looking to acquire major weapon systems including fighter aircraft, submarines and tanks, the defence services today got a hike of around 13 per cent in their budget for 2023-24 as Rs 5.94 lakh crore were allocated to them, up from the Rs 5.25 lakh crore given last year.
The modernisation budget has also been hiked from Rs 1.52 lakh crore last fiscal to Rs 1.62 lakh crore this fiscal. A significant portion of the modernisation budget would be for the acquisition of weapon systems and equipment from Indian firms under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make in India programme.
The modernisation budget hike amounts to only around 6.5 per cent which is considered as only a moderate hike.
The Indian Air Force is looking to acquire fighter aircraft under its plans for inducting 4.5 generation fighter planes along with investments in the indigenous fighter aircraft development plan.
The Indian Navy is also looking for acquiring fighter aircraft from France but it is not likely to be concluded this year as procedures for the acquisition are yet to be initiated.
The French Rafale aircraft has been chosen by the Indian Navy and recommended for purchase under government to government deal after the completion of trials but the procedures from the defence ministry side such as taking clearance from the defence acquisition council have not yet been taken.
The Navy is focusing on the acquisition of the submarines under Project 75 India but it is likely to take time.
The Army would also be initiating the process to acquire light tanks and artillery guns for its operational requirements on the Ladakh front.
The forces have also initiated a number of projects to acquire weapons systems under the Make in India programme where only Indian companies are allowed to be in the lead.
A major focus is also on enhancing our fighting capabilities in the cyber and artificial intelligence domain and upgrades have been planned by the forces for this requirement. The pension budget of the forces has been increased from Rs 1.19 lakh crore last year to Rs 1.38 lakh crore this fiscal.
The revenue budget for the forces is also up by around Rs 30,000 crore as it has been pegged at Rs 2.70 lakh crore from Rs 2.39 lakh crore last year.
Finance Minister Sitharaman tabled the Union Budget for the financial year 2023-24 on Wednesday with her nearly one-and-a-half-hour-long speech.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hoped this year's Union Budget will help the country to figure in the 'Top Three' economies within a few years.
Taking to Twitter, Singh said, "The Union Budget 2023-24 is expected to bring about positive changes in the country that will lead us towards achieving our goal of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy and 'Top Three' economies within few years."
Overall, the government proposed to increase capital expenditure outlay by 33 per cent to Rs 10 lakh crore in 2023-24, which would be 3.3 per cent of the GDP, said Union finance minister Sitharaman.
"(This overall outlay) would be 3.3 per cent of GDP, almost three times the outlay made in 2019-20. With the substantial increase, it is central to government's efforts to enhance growth potential and job creation, the crowd in private investments and provides a cushion against global headwinds," Sitharaman said in her Budget speech.
(With inputs from ANI)