Home South Asia Pakistan Federal govt proposes a meagre increase of 4.7% in defence budget

Federal govt proposes a meagre increase of 4.7% in defence budget

The new budget proposed for the fiscal year 2019-20 has allocated an increase of 4.7% in the defence budget, despite the armed forces’ voluntary decision not to accept increments, which brings the new defence budget to Rs1,152 billion.

defence budget

News Desk |

On Tuesday, the incumbent government put forward a proposal for a 4.7% increase in the defense budget, despite the army’s decision of refusing increments in the military spending to contribute to the ongoing efforts to evade challenging economic conditions.

As per the budget outlined for the year 2019-20, the federal government has offered a defence budget of Rs1,152 billion as opposed to the Rs1,100 billion contributed to the defence budget for the current fiscal year.

The defence budget invites contemplation and criticism as critics of the military often demand more transparency and discussion over the military’s spending.

During the last few years, the defence budget received, on average, yearly increments of 11% while the raise proposed by the federal government is fairly small. Moreover, the defence outlay in the federal budget for 2019-20 reveals that military spending has reduced from 31% to 27%.

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Defence Budget Outlay

As we examine the details of the defence budget outlay, it discloses that the Rs.1,152 billion does not include the Rs308 billion allocated for the armed forces development program and the Rs327 billion for the pensions for retired military officers and soldiers. The armed forces development program reveals a 46% increase of Rs98 billion when compared to the current fiscal year.

The armed forces will also be allocated Rs65 billion for the security expenses associated with the temporarily displaced individuals across the war-torn tribal districts, alongside an additional Rs30 billion allocated for the UN peacekeeping force.

During the last few years, the defence budget received, on average, yearly increments of 11% while the raise proposed by the federal government is fairly small.

The total budget allocated for defense, upon taking into account all the allocations for the year 2019-20, comes to a total Rs1,882 billion as opposed to the Rs1,694 billion, indicating an increase of 11%.

The budget document for the fiscal year 2019-20 reveals that out of the total budget proposed at Rs1,152 billion, Rs450 billion has been provided for employment expenses, Rs315 billion for imports of weapons and purchases, Rs264.5 billion for operational expenditure and Rs123 billion for civil service.

Read more: Pakistan’s Defense budget: Majestic Myths & Humble Reality?

Increments or no Increments?

Earlier on Eid Day, Prime Minister Imran Khan had lauded the decision of the armed forces, announcing that the army had “voluntary agreed” to deny any increments in the defence budget in support of the ongoing austerity efforts of the incumbent government.

PM Khan had stated that these funds spared from the defence allocations will be allocated for undertaking developmental efforts across tribal areas in KPK and Balochistan. The decision announced by the military’s media wing, the ISPR, was later confirmed by the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who stating that for one year, the army would maintain a stagnant defence budget without increments.

The armed forces made it clear that these voluntary reductions in the defence budget will not compromise the military’s defence and security capabilities. The defence budget invites contemplation and criticism as critics of the military often demand more transparency and discussion over the military’s spending.

PM Khan had stated that these funds spared from the defence allocations will be allocated for undertaking developmental efforts across tribal areas in KPK and Balochistan.

Over the last few years, the government has offered more transparency by revealing more about the defence budget, however, the parliament has never engaged in an open discussion over this subject.

The Pakistan army is not only fighting terrorism and militancy within its borders, but the aggressive posturing and nuclear proliferation of south-Asian rival India cannot be ruled out, which has intensified in the wake of the Pulwama attack.

Read more: China to raise defence spending by 7.5%, lower than 2018

In February, the two nuclear-armed rivals arrived at the flashpoint of war when India violated Pakistan’s airspace and in turn, Pakistan captured Indian Air Force pilot, launching a swift and befitting response to Indian aggression.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) further responded to India’s aggressive posturing by locking multiple targets within Indian territory and dropping missiles in vacant spaces to exhibit its capability and will power to launch a decisive and powerful response.

Indian media reports reveal that this year, New Delhi has increased its defence budget by nearly 7%, however, when we examine the mammoth proportions of the Indian defence budget and nuclear proliferation effort, it is evident that it is six times greater than the entire defence budget of Pakistani armed forces.

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