Union Government constituted DB Shekatkar Committee on defence spending

May 23, 2016 15:00 IST

The Union Government on 20 May 2016 constituted a committee of experts on defence spending.

The 11-member committee will be headed by Lt Gen DB Shekatkar (retd) and include top military officers and civilian experts.

The committee will recommend measures to enhance the combat capabilities of the over 13-lakh strong armed forces.

It will also focus on re-balanceing the overall defence expenditure in view of the escalating salary and pension bills. It was mandated to submit the report in three months.

Why the committee was appointed?

• Since 2008-09, allocations to the Ministry of Defence have been dominated by the increases in manpower cost.

• The implementation of the defence One Rank One Pension (OROP) and 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) recommendations, which became effective from the 2016-17, brings into stark focus the desirability of manpower-led increases in the defence budget.

• The primary criticism against the pattern of defence expenditure is that the skewed allocations in favour of manpower led to diminishing capital expenditure.

• In the Budget 2015-16, around 3.1 lakh crore rupees were set aside for defence purposes. Out of this, 38.3 percent constituted capital expenditure.

• Though the defence budget has seen around 10 percent growth overall (3.4 lakh crore rupees) in 2016-17, the allocations for capital expenditure undergone decline (34.7 percent).

• The appointment of the committee is also in tune with the Government’s ‘Save and Raise’ policy adopted in the aftermath of 1999 Kargil conflict.

• The policy is aimed at improving combat capabilities of the armed forces without any increase in manpower.

• To achieve this, the focus has been on induction of cutting-edge technologies and manpower optimization.

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