Expressing concern over reduced budget for capital procurement over the years, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said here on Thursday the allocation has come down from 40% in 2010-11 to 33% and efforts are on to reduce the burgeoning pension bill. He also said the Indian Ocean is becoming a “threat” after the South China Sea, in an apparent reference to growing Chinese maritime prowess and its fast expanding naval presence in the Indian Ocean in the last one decade or so.
Addressing a webinar here, Kumar said the reduction in allocation for capital procurement was “systemic problem” with three factors - growing pension bill, non revenue expenditure and dependence on imports.
On Blue economy in the region, Kumar stated China has been a leader in deep water fishing while the Indian fishermen are not even equipped to cover the entire Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Observing that India does not have the infrastructure to support them, Kumar said it needs to be seen how it can be put in place.
Stressing on indigenous technology development, Kumar said it is an open secret that current model of technology transfer drives up cost of platforms from 30% to 60% compared to direct imports. Other measures being pursued to reduce expenditure are outsourcing, leasing, automation in various organisations under the ministry and monetisation of some defence lands. Process is also underway for closing down military farms. Giving examples, he said the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is outsourcing all work worth upto Rs 300 crore.