Budget is not just all about figures but also a statement of policy. The Defence Budget for 2017-18 contains no hint of any intention of the government to bring about a paradigm shift in the defence policy.
If the defence expenditure relationship to the GDP of 1.65 per cent is maintained, we may see a budget estimate (BE) for defence expenditure of Rs. 285,000 crores, against the current year BE of Rs. 249,099 crores.
The presentation of the Union budget on February 1 is expected to ensure full utilisation of allocated funds and will ensure that ‘New Schemes’ can be processed, approved and contracted from April 1, 2017.
With some innovative thinking, on-line arrangements with suppliers, including the Canteen Stores Department, could reduce the cost of storage and distribution and, more importantly, help in maintaining a high satisfaction level among troops.
The Army needs to comprehensively review the existing SoP for this exercise, liaise with MORTH and NHAI and jointly develop a software which can generate traffic data reports that would be accurate and useful for its planning purposes.
The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) is preparing to undergo a major expansion programme. India can assist in enhancing and developing PNGDF’s capabilities without coming into conflict or competition with the Australian interests.