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MoD suggests increasing Defence Budget to 3 percent of GDP and reorientation of Forces to save billions

An Indian MoD panel has suggested that the government could save up to INR 25,000 crore (US$3.6 billion) from its current budget by cutting flag and reploying forcs over the next five years.

Retired Lt Gen DB Shekatkar was appointed by the government as head of the panel, formed to enhance the combat potential of the armed forces and rebalancing defence expenditure, New Indian Express reported today.

Further, the committee has recommended that the defence budget should be in the range of 2.5 and three per cent of the GDP.

The committee, which was set up in May, 2016, submitted its report to the defense ministry during last week of December.

The committee has suggested a reorientation of training facilities so as to save defense expenditure. The defense ministry is evaluating the 550 pages report to make changes in the armed forces structure.

However, the committee warned that the implementation cannot be selective. The committee report also observed that the redeployment of manpower and downsizing of some of the organisations under the Ministry of Defense will have to be across the board as well as ruthless to be effective.

The panel has taken an overall view of the emerging security environment in the South Asia region and cross-border hostilities from Pakistan in the recent past.

Another main recommendation of the committee is to review the definition of ‘Capital’ and ‘Revenue’ budget heads in the funds allocated to the three armed forces, especially in the Indian Army.

The panel has suggested better coordination between the Ministry of Defense and state governments to handle transfer of land to armed forces for firing ranges.

Shekatkar Committee has also recommended a 4-star Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) or a Permanent Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee to be appointed as a ‘chief coordinator’ between the military and the Ministry of Defence.

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