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Funding not a constraint for defence preparedness: Rajnath Singh

NEW DELHI (PTI): Funding will not come in the way of the country's defence preparedness and there will be no compromise on it, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh assured the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Replying to queries during Question Hour, the minister said the government will not allow any compromise on the defence preparedness due to capital constraints.

"We have taken precaution that there is no shortcoming on the country's defence preparedness in any way by way of budget constraints. We will not compromise on India's defence preparedness.," the minister assured the members.

He said as far as country's defence preparedness is concerned, "we will not allow any adverse impact on it due to fund constraints".

In reply to another supplementary, Rajnath Singh said in absolute terms, the defence budget has increased in the last few years.

In 2019-20, he said, one-third (32.19 per cent) of the total capital expenditure of central government is being spent on defence which is the highest among all other central ministries.

The minister also said there is no under-utilisation of funds in the defence sector, but called for the need to further modernise the defence sector, steps for which are being taken.

He denied there were any procedural delays due to bureaucratic hurdles, saying, "There are no procedural delays as powers have been transferred to forces now."

There is no question of under-utilisation as more than 100 per cent utilisation of defence budget has been achieved, he said.

Meanwhile, in a written reply he said: During the period 2015-19, the government has taken steps to delegate substantial financial powers to the service headquarters for both normal and emergent procurements.

"This has resulted in faster decision making and ensured full and optimal utilisation of allocated budget".

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