Amit Cowshish is a former Financial Advisor (Acquisition), Ministry of Defence and presently a Distinguished Fellow with the Indian Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Click here for Detailed Profile
Beginning 2016–17, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will present four detailed demands for grant (DDGs)1 instead of eight that it had been presenting to the Lok Sabha2 in the past. It is not that its area of responsibility has shrunk. The reason why the number of demands has come down is that the budgetary outlays earlier spread over eight demands have now been compressed into four.
Defence planning has had a troubled history since its inception, in spite of several experiments with the structures and processes of planning. It will, therefore, be in the fitness of things to re-evaluate the existing architecture of planning.
Rather than continuing to harp on issues like inadequacy of defence outlays, the committee could actually bring about a tangible improvement in the state of defence preparedness by focusing on four specific micro areas.
The defence budget for the next fiscal has been completely restructured, making it difficult to make like-to-like comparisons. The growth in the defence budget is bound to disappoint the strategic community, notwithstanding the economic factors that may be responsible for it
In spite of spending close to Rs 500,000 crore on capital acquisitions between 2002–03 and 2014–15, the Indian Armed Forces continue to suffer from a chronic shortage of equipment and ammunition, low levels of serviceability of equipment already in service, and a heavy dependence on imports. The procurement programmes keep getting stalled or take inordinately long to fructify. There are several reasons for this morass; the primary ones being disjointed defence planning, limited budgetary support for modernisation of the armed forces, procedural complexities, and bureaucratic indolence.