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High-tech weapons to replace man power? Indian Army plans to cut 1.5 lakh jobs

By Newsd
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Image Source: Indian Express

The Indian Army is said to be planning to bring down its man power and invest more in high tech weapons. The latest media reports from Monday suggest that army is thinking about a proposal to shed up to 1.5 lakh jobs which would save between Rs 5,000 and Rs 7,000 crore and so, could be used to buy modern weapons as the focus shifts on ‘lean and mean’ force.

As quoted by a national tabloid HT, “Merging of some verticals and rationalising roles are likely to result in cutting 50,000 troops over the next two years. A reduction of 100,000 more personnel may be possible by 2022-23. But all this is in the study phase right now,” a military official said.

Currently 85 per cent or Rs 1.28 lakh crore of the Army’s total budget is spent in revenue expenses such as day-to-day running costs and salaries, excluding the annual pension payout which is independently accounted for. Only 17 percent of the budget Rs. 26,826 crore goes towards capital expenditure, which the army reportedly finds unsatisfactory.

In June, there was a report that said that the army had placed an order for only 250,000 modern assault rifles despite its total requirement of 800,000 rifles.

Earlier this year, in March, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget. The defence budget was increased by a mere 7.81% to Rs2.95 trillion against last year’s Rs2.74 trillion. Out of total allocation of Rs 295,511 crore for defence budget, only Rs 99,947 crore has been set aside for capital outlay to purchase of new weapons, aircraft, warships and other military hardware. The allocation has been estimated at around 1.58% of the GDP and 12.10% of the total budget of Rs 2,442,213 crore for 2018-19.

Looking at the budget allocation, Army Vice Chief Lt General Sarath Chand had said that the budget allocation for 2018-19 “dashed the hopes” of the Army. He had also said that the marginal increase was barely enough to meet inflation as 68% of the force’s equipment falls in the “vintage category”.