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Rs 2.95 lakh crore allocated for defence budget

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New Delhi, Feb 1: The defence budget was increased by a mere 7.81 per cent to Rs 2.95 lakh crore against last years Rs 2.74 lakh crore, belying expectations of a significant hike when the armed forces are facing growing challenge on the borders with both Pakistan and China.

In his budget address, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government will develop two defence industrial production corridors and bring out an industry-friendly military production policy to promote the domestic defence industry.

Out of total allocation of Rs 2,95,511 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 per cent of the GDP and 12.10 per cent of the total budget of Rs 24,42,213 crore for 2018-19.

Military experts said the allocation for defence budget was inadequate to modernise Indias armed forces when they are having to deal with an increasingly assertive China on the northern frontier and Pakistans continued hostilities along the western border.

“The allocation is not at all adequate for modernisation of our armed forces. The expectation was much more,” said Dr Laxman Behera of Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis.

Another expert Brig (retd) S K Chatterjee said the allocation was not in consonance with Indias security challenges along the western and northern borders and that the actual hike is marginal considering the inflationary pressure and increase in cost of military hardware compared to last year.

The revenue expenditure which includes expenses on payment of salaries and maintenance of establishments has been pegged at Rs 1,95,947 crore.

Last year, the hike in defence budget was 6.2 per cent compared to allocation in 2016-17. The increase was 9.76 per cent for 2016-17 compared to 2015-16.

A separate amount of Rs 1,08,853 crore has been set aside over the above the total allocation for the paying pension to defence personnel.

The amount for defence pension is an increase of 26.60 per cent over the allocation of Rs 85,740 crore last year.

In his budget speech, Jaitley appreciated the role played by the armed forces in meeting challenges on the countrys borders as well as in managing the internal security environment, both in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.

He said the government will develop two defence industrial production corridors. He, however, did not explain the contours of the project.

Jaitley said a lot of emphasis had been laid on modernising and enhancing the operational capability of the defence forces in the last three-and-a-half years.

“The government will take measures to develop two defence industrial production corridors in the country,” he said.

Jaitley said the government would also bring out an industry-friendly “defence production policy 2018” to promote domestic production by the public sector, private sector and MSMEs.

He said a number of initiatives had been taken to develop and nurture Indias intrinsic defence production capability to make the nation self-reliant on its defence needs.

The minister said private investment in defence production had been opened up, including liberalising foreign direct investment.

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NATIONAL

Maoist poster found in Odisha capital threatening to kill missing Kashmiri student

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Bhubaneswar | March 5 2018
A poster allegedly put up by the Maoists was found at Baramunda bus stand creating panic among locals here this morning.
The poster was put up on the wall under flyover with a message demanding the government to release top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, who is currently lodged in jail, in seven days or else the Kashmiri student studying at Bhubaneswar AIIMS Suhail Aijaz, who is missing since Feb 9, will be killed.
The Maoists in the poster said that Suhail is in their custody. If the government fails to release Sabyasachi Panda, they will eliminate the Kashmiri student.
Also, the red rebels through the poster threatened explosions at Bhubaneswar railway station and police stations on March 11 if their demand is not met as soon as possible.
While there is no breakthrough in the missing Kashmiri student and a team of commissionerate police returned Bhubaneswar from Kolkata with clueless about him, the latest poster indicates Maoist link in connection with missing of Suhail, who is yet to be traced by police. The poster posed as a bigger challenge to the police, who are yet to clear the authenticity of the poster.
The twin city commissionerate police is investigating into the matter to find out alleged abduction of Suhail by Maoists and authenticity of the poster.
We recovered a handwritten poster and it is being investigated, said DCP Satyabrata Bhoi.
Normally, the Maoists put up the posters in their letterhead using red ink. However, this poster found at Baramunda bus stand was written in blue ink.
When asked to Sabyasachi Panda’s wife Subhashree alias Mili Panda about the poster, she refused any Maoist role behind putting up the poster at Baramunda bus stand.
She refuted the allegations that Sabyasachi’s supporters were behind the incident. She clearly said that her husband was never the cadre belonging to the banned CPI(Maoist), which has allegedly put up the poster on wall under flyover at Baramunda.
“Since my husband is facing trial and legal process in a series of cases, it is baseless to say that any of his supporters will do such thing to release him from jail,” Mili Panda said.

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NATIONAL

3 sisters found with decomposed body of woman

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Bankura (WB), Mar 2 2018

The decomposed body of a 60-year-old woman was recovered from a house here where her three sisters, all mentally unstable, were also living, police said today.

The police got the information over phone about

the incident yesterday and recovered the body of Archana Pal from her house at Pratap Bagan area here in the district.

Superintendent of Police Sukhendu Heera said possibly she died on Wednesday.

The body was sent for post-mortem examination.

Her three sisters — all mentally unstable and physically ill — were taken to hospital, he said.

One of them was admitted to the hospital while others were released, the officer said.

They four were the only occupants of the house and their parents had died earlier.

PTI

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NATIONAL

MoS Defence says situation at LAC sensitive, cautions against increased ISIS threat

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New Delhi | March 1 2018

Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre on Thursday said the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was “sensitive” and has the potential of escalation.

“The situation along LAC (with China) is sensitive. Incidents of patrolling, transgression and standoff have the potential of escalation,” Bhamre said while speaking at the annual army seminar here.

He also said religious fundamentalism was rising and Pakistan was acting as a conduit of eastward spread of Islamic State (IS) ideology.

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