While the Budget comes with news of a new production policy, it will be up to the defence establishment and industry to bring things to fruition, something which they have struggled with so far.
Nirupama Soundararajan and Dnyanada Palkar
The ‘Make in India’ campaign, launched under Nirmala Sitharaman’s watch, has so far failed to ignite any significant domestic production. While it is a complex process, her potential for success or failure will be in seeing this through.
Up to $30 billion in defence deals could be unlocked with the new policy. But the fine print will decide whether it will give a leg up to Indian firms and reduce the country’s dependence on costly imports.
While there has been an overall increase in allocation, this is most likely money that went unspent in last year’s defence budget. This is indicative of systemic inefficiencies in the capital acquisition process.
The Shekatkar committee report represents a starting point and makes a valuable suggestion – non-combat organisations must be reviewed and restructured.
Lack of integrated planning for procurement among the armed forces is a huge shortcoming. Merely increasing the defence to GDP ratio will not solve the current predicament.
An analysis of the country’s defence budget allocations not only suggests a lack of integrated planning, but worse, a deterioration in coordination.
An analysis of various reports shows that it is highly unlikely that India has the artillery and ammunition resources to fight another war like Kargil.