The Defence Budget of 2023-24 stands at Rs Rs 5,93,537.64 crores — Rs 5.93 lakh crore approximately, according to Budget documents published on Wednesday.
The 5.93 lakh crore Defence Budget 2023-24 is a hike of around 16 per cent from last financial year's budget of around Rs 5.25 lakh crore.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman did not mention the defence element of the Union Budget 2023-24 in her speech in the Parliament on Wednesday. The figures are taken from the documents published online after her Budget Speech.
Defence Budget 2023-24 in numbers
The revenue —everyday expenditure plus salaries— and pension expenditures forms the bulk of the Defence Budget 2023-24 at around 68 per cent.
The budgetery provisions for defence capital expenditure is around 1.62 lakh crore. The capital expenditure includes arms and equipment procurement, armed forces modernisation, upgrade of existing systems and equipment, etc.
The bloated salary and pension element of the Defence Budget against the slim capital expenditure has been constant concern of defence observers over the years. The slim capex fund leaves little room for modernisation and procurement.
Despite such concerns, it must be noted that the defence component of the Union Budget 2023-24 is the biggest among all elements. The Ministry of Road and Transport is a distant second with budgetary provisions of around Rs 2.7 lakh crore.
Pensions hike more than capex, little R&D hike: Experts
Defence experts have highlighted that the hike in pension budget in Defence Budget 2023-24 is nearly twice than the hike in the defence capital expenditure.
The pension expenditure for the upcoming year is slated to be around Rs 1.38 lakh crore against 1.25 lakh crore of last year.
The capital expenditure for the upcoming year is slated to be around 1,62 lakh crore against 1.5 lakh crore of the last year.
Moreover, experts have flagged the inability to properly spend even whatever amount is allotted for defence capital expenditure.
Defence Forum India Editor Yusuf Unjhawala tweeted, "Revised defence capital expenditure for 2022-23 at 1.5 L Cr. 2000 crores less than what was budgeted. We didn’t manage to fully spend even the small increase in last years capital outlay...In 2022-23 only ₹1,364 Cr was allocated for prototype development for Army and Air Force under make procedure. But only ₹122 Cr spent! This years allocation is ₹1231 Cr."
Unjhawala further noted, "Increase in budget for defence pension is nearly twice the increase in capital outlay."
Delhi Defence Forum noted on Twitter that the trend of little research and defence allotment would affect Indian military adversely over the years.
The Forum noted, "R&D allocation sees no marked increase yet again with a budgeted Rs 12,850Cr up from Rs 11,981 Cr last year...As we at DDR have always said, marginal increases in R&D spending will only lead to protracted troubles in cutting edge technology development. With a line of indigenous weapon systems ready for induction, increase in CapEx is a welcome effort (~ Rs 10,000 Cr)."
The Forum further noted that the Indian Air Force has the highest share of capital expenditure and the Indian Army the lowest. Though the hike is the highest for the Army.
Airforce tops the CapEx allocation with Rs 57,137 Cr (up from Rs 53,749Cr. ⬆️6.3%) ,— Delhi Defence Review (@delhidefence) February 1, 2023
followed by Navy at Rs 52,804 Cr (up from Rs 47,737Cr. ⬆️10.64%) and the
Army at Rs 37,241Cr (up from Rs 32,597 Cr. ⬆️14.25% ).
Percentage-wise the biggest jump is for the Army. pic.twitter.com/yTaoqPmuEl