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58 contracts worth over Rs 1 lakh cr signed in last 3 financial years for defence equipment procurement

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Fifty-eight contracts worth around Rs 1.38 lakh crore were signed in the last three financial years for procurement of defence equipment for the Indian armed forces from foreign companies, said Minister of state for Defence Shripad Naik on Monday.

Moreover, the Defence Ministry has fully utilised the budget allocated for the modernisation of the armed forces in the last three financial years and there has been no underutilisation, he added.

In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Naik stated that Rs 62.6 thousand crore, Rs 68.9 thousand crore and Rs 73.8 thousand crore were allocated for modernisation of the armed forces in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, respectively.

He added that the expenditure of each of the aforementioned three financial years were more than the allocated budget.

Naik said, "During the last three financial years (2016-17 to 2018-19), 58 contracts worth about Rs 1.387 lakh crore have been signed with foreign vendors for capital procurements of defence equipment for the armed forces."

In a reply to another question in Rajya Sabha, the minister stated that the defence expenditure in total has been increasing each year, for the last four years, in absolute terms.

In 2018-19 and 2019-20, the defence budget was of Rs 4.04 lakh crore and Rs 4.31 lakh crore, respectively.

However, the defence expenditure, in terms of percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was 2.22 per cent, 2.11 per cent, 2.13 per cent and 2.11 per cent for 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20, respectively.

"It may be seen from above data that the Defence Budget as a percentage of the GDP may appear to be decreasing due to increasing trend in the growth of the GDP. However, it is increasing in absolute terms, implying higher spending," he said.

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