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Defence allocation goes up by 10pc

June 01, 2012

ISLAMABAD, June 1: Country’s defence budget has been increased by about 10 per cent to around Rs545 billion for the next fiscal year, according to the budget documents placed before the parliament on Friday.

When seen in the context of 11 per cent inflation, the defence budget remains almost stagnant, but is still close to seven per cent higher than the federal development outlay (Public Sector Development Program) for 2012-13, which is Rs360 billion.

The proposed defence expenditures are slightly higher than the Rs513 billion allocated for all the provinces. On the whole, the defence allocation makes up about 19 per cent of the total budget of Rs2,960 billion.

In the last budget the government had allocated Rs495 billion for the fiscal year ending this month, but the figure was revised to Rs510 billion – Rs14 billion more than the original allocation.

The government, analysts say, was constrained to make only a modest increase in defence spending because of precarious financial condition and cut in US military aid.

Defence budgets have been traditionally shrouded in secrecy, but since the last budget the government has started sharing the broader breakdown. However, details about procuring new weapon systems or maintaining the existing hardware are still not disclosed on the pretext of national security.

As per the scanty details shared with the parliament, Rs229.5 billion would be spent on salaries of troops, Rs143.5 billion allocated for operating expenses, Rs120.5 billion for physical assets and Rs51.3 billion for civil works.

The shares of the three services are: Rs264 billion for Army, Rs114 billion for Air Force and Rs52.7 billion for Navy.

Allocation for military pensioners was shifted to the civilian budget a few years ago, hence, no longer forms part of the defence outlay. The amount for the military pensioners is about Rs50 billion.

Moreover, funds for the Strategic Plans Division, which is responsible for nuclear arsenal and facilities, are also not reflected in the defence expenditure.

In comparison, India this year jacked up its defence budget by 17 per cent to Pakistani equivalent of Rs3,800 billion, with about Rs1,674 billion alone for buying new equipment.

India, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, ranks eighth in the list of top global military spenders.

Pakistan was ranked 33 on the list.