Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1 presented the Union Budget 2020 in which the defence budget was hiked from Rs 3.18 lakh crore to Rs 3.37 lakh crore. In an effort to modernise and buying new weapon systems, the defence forces have been allocated Rs 1,10,734 crore which is Rs 10,340 crore more than what was provided in last year’s budget.
Speaking of the 6 per cent hike in the 2020 defence budget, the Army chief General MM Naravane on Tuesday expressed confidence that the defence force will continue to be modernised notwithstanding what budget allocations are made.
“We will continue to modernise notwithstanding what budget allocations are made. Last year itself we had inducted 4-5 different types of weapon systems and platforms. Modernisation has never been an issue,” he added.
Further talking about the defence budget allocation, Naravane said he will study on how to make full use of it. “We have seen a modest increase of about 8 per cent year on year, we will be studying how to manage this budget and how to make full use of it,” he added.
Responding to the report by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) tabled in Parliament on Monday, that included the condition of troops in high altitude areas, he said that it was a “little outdated”. He asserted that each and every jawan who goes to Siachin gets personal clothing worth Rs 1 lac.
“That CAG report pertains to the year 2015-16. So it is not the report of present times. It is a little outdated at that sense But I would like to assure you that as of today- 2020, we are very well prepared”, he said while speaking to ANI.
He affirmed that every jawan who goes to Siachin is provided with personal clothing worth approximately Rs 1 lac. The army chief said: “that is the preparation we do, that is the way we equip every man before he goes up and similar is the case with special rations which are authorized to anyone who is deployed in such difficult areas, we are making sure whatever their needs are, are met”.
Along with the personal kit for protection against winters, every soldier also gets equipment worth rupees Rs 1.5 lacs for survival and moving around the Siachen glacier during their deployment there.
The Army General furthered: “As things improve, as new technology comes in as better as lighter clothing comes in…we will continue we will continue endorsing those also. We will make sure our men are looked after at all times”.
On the Indian Nationals coming back from Cornonaviras stricken Wuhan, General said: “The coronavirus has become a global epidemic and it is going to affect all the countries in the world. it is going to affect us also. we had a number of our nationals in Wuhan and other places in China. And as part of the overall effort, we’re also chipping to help out. It is to that extent that we have made a small camp at Manesar where we had an existing facility to house our troops”.
We can take care of 200-250 people at any point in time. It is a very basic facility, as far as the camp is concerned, we have put out medical detachment there monitoring the people, who are there on a daily basis. As and when anybody is showing any symptoms, he’s being screened more careful before he is cleared for being sent back home”, General MM Naravane said.