The Modi-led government, which presented the interim Budget on Friday, 1 February, said that it has enhanced the defence budget beyond Rs 3,00,000 crore.
Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, who presented the Budget said, “Our soldiers are our pride and honour. Substantial hike in military service pay has been announced.”
Talking about the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) programme, which aims to equalise pension payments for retired military personnel in the country, Goyal said, “We had promised to implement OROP. We have already disbursed over Rs 35,000 crore after implementing the scheme in true spirit.”
The move comes at a time when over 500 retired defence personnel from Delhi, Punjab and Haryana staged a protest against the ‘half-baked’ implementation of the OROP at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Wednesday, 30 January.
While the Parliament lauded the government’s move, journalist Sandeep Unnithan pointed that the Rs 3 lakh crore hike indicates a modest 7 percent hike, which is barely enough to cover the inflation.
Clearing the air around the exact hike in defence budget by the government, he also said that the previous year’s Rs 2.7 lakh crore was only for services, which is without the MoD budget of Rs 16,200 crore. This makes it clear that the increase in the current budget is even less.