This is 1400 word IDF analysis of the 2017-18 budget tabled and articulated by Finance Minister (FM) Arun Jaitley on 1st Feb, by a Pseudo Defence Economist awarded Msc for a thesis Madras University, never visited.
The combined Railway budget this time was dealt with in few minutes with Rs 1.7 lac cr allocation and grants for safety improvements but no bullet train talk. Railways are to generate Rs 81,000 cr profit, majority in rent IDF learnt from a co-discussant ex Railway Board Member invited on the Hindi Tv channel. The young pretty (blind anchor like us, discussants) led us three discussants. IDF was on Defence !
India is a “bright spot” in world’s gloomy economy, FM rightly said. IDF thoughts raced to Md Ghori, and Ghazni who repeatedly raided replenished riches in India’s temples, that NDA is trying to mop up. India was the ‘Jewel in Britain’s Crown’ whose military fought for the Crown’s victory ! What happened after ? 1962 and 1965 till a Parsi originally from Iran rescued India in the 1971 war for Bangla Desh. But Kargil (1999) stumped the Army to fight, ‘with what they had’ Gen Malik said !
FM’s budget was cleverly ‘Pro Poor, Pro Agriculture and Pro Infrastructure’. Bright brains seemed behind the Budget and FM promised it was a foundation for long term growth to boost the economy in long terms. Economy and stocks are the most difficult to predict with surety IDF can vouch for —-who knew the oil shock or Demonet would come like avalanches and shave 1% of the GDP ?
Timing is a principle of war. IDF has a nagging hunch Demonet and the pro poor sops at this juncture were also to help BJP’s prospects in the elections, fighting to wrest UP and keep Punjab and Goa like Dangal. The poor suffered in Demonet most, but they believe, “Rahisyao (rich) Ke Baja De” and “Black money Khatam Ho Gaye’ which is laudable ! Growth will drop a bit and then zoom with GST is the promised El Dorado. Indian military will have to wait.
Indians tolerance levels are high, anticipating Nectar and Nirvana in next life that Hindu belief assures.
The election circus for Election Commission and public has begun in two states with a Sikh Ex Governor/ Army Chief against an Army Sikh Maharaja. Shakespeare had said, one needs some diversion so that the play sells ! TV is having a time predicting the results, like a changing horse race. On radio, AIR never predict and Private FM is not allowed current affairs, only music and inane talk with Ads!
Jaitley quoted Mahatma Gandhi to clear ill feelings about Demonetization with Mahatma’s, “An act for a good cause never fails.”
Jaitley a brilliant lawyer, spoke in English, but orated poetry in Hindi, ending with, “The Winds Favour India”. As a Bronze Medalist IDF says he is right, Yachtsmen who sail by the winds know how to steer/tack/sail free a boat and avoid Cat’s Paw winds or capsize. Today, strong winds are coming from Trump, Putin and XI Jinping who are looking after their own self interests to make their nations’ great as PM Modi had promised too !
That needs strong and properly structured military for war, and a robust Nuclear Command for warning for No First Use(NFU’s) for second strike to respond. It costs money but FM has provided 1.6% of GDP for defence just above Japan to chug along, so military has been buffeted and neglected again with ebbs and flows in budgets.
China has asked USA to mind its own business with , “You are not a party to the SCS !” The tale of two cities DC and Beijing in Cold War has begun. Trump has warned Iran (shia) to behave-no more missiles Iran ! Neighbours of Iran; Pakistan and India could be affected !
Trump hopes to tame China on trade, yuan and arrogance to challenge the world’s lone super power and defy UN ITLOS judgment on South China Sea (SCS). India is a most favoured defence partner as USA’s Cat’s Paw’ as a bulwark to take on China. Hope USA does not fire guns Eastwards from India’s ‘Act East shoulders’. That will need more Dum. When an ambitious elephant China, challenges the No 1 super power USA, the grass is bound to get trampled in the ‘Rise and Fall of Nations’.
India’s budget plans is to stimulate tax collections and growth. No tax for voters up to Rs 5 Lacs, no scrutiny for first time payers, which will please the poorer MNREGA voter and tax free agriculturists. Anonymous can still donate to parties, through banks.
FM plans to sell non-performing PSUs and annex the wealth of the Indian absconders abroad like,Bhusins, Maulyas, & Khunnas. FM Jaitley and law honcho Ravi Shankar Prasad will draft appropriate laws. Air India got Rs 215 cr, Kashmir refuges got aid. Maldives Rs 245 cr from 80, and Bhutan got Rs 3714 aid and MEA got Rs 14, 784 cr.
SECURITY IN BACK BURNER- ONLY 8% HIKE TO RS 2.74 lac cr FROM RS 2.58 cr (2016-17) TO COVER REVENUE ITEMS ORDERED & INFLATION- NO LEEWAY FOR MODERNISATION ?
NSA expenses got a big jump but no matter how good the national budget is, security is the first duty of a Sovereign, said Chanakya and Adam Smith. Rs 6,886 crore went unspent from 16-17 capital of Rs 78,586.68 cr and helped reduce deficit to 3.2% which needs lauding.
FM Jaitley (was also RM for 6 months-2014) is ex Sri Ram and brilliant. In his ministry he has nimble bureaucrats who superbly battled Demonet with one a day 60 RBI changes and a NRI Tambram Adviser Subramanian and young economic brats. All have possibly never even smelt a war.
These brains are the architects of the Budget. The budget rightly scored many Thumbs Up on TV( 8/10s) but IDF gave it a ‘Thumbs Flat’ (6/10 with sore thumb) to the pretty girl who blushed.
MOD can never match PMO/ Finance Ministry ‘jholi file wala’ brains and Defence Minister Parrikar spent time in Goa where his heart is, and IDF wonders if Chiefs have any say after tabling their demands, which should be many in Budget Estimates, and are biting nails for a CDS surprise.
Normally Army gets around 53% of the defence budget, Air Force around 23% and Navy 18% and Ordnance Factories, DRDO and MOD rest. Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) allocation was in Navy and nuclear submarine and core needs are spread-DAE, DRDO, PMO etc.
The long neglected Army gets Rs 25,175.63 cr capital , compared to Rs 23,709.17 crore last financial year but needs to go HI-TECH with Cyber, Space, mobility and attack helicopters not to mention modern rifles, bullet proof jackets, simulators in numbers for the 1.2 mill expanding fine army, that IDF salutes.
Army payments will be due as light air mobile 155mm 145 BAE guns are on the way for mountains used in Afghanistan, with 140 towed 155m/39 cal local Bofor Ordnance Dhanushes and self propelled Thunders from Samsung and L&T, and ATAGS from DRDO -Tata-SED &L&T).
Teams have ordered ammunition worth Rs 6,000 cr media reported, and possibly only advance 10% paid , but IDF analyses no money for Army to attend to modernization,
The IAF got the biggest chunk of Rs 33,555.62 cr from the Rs 86,488 cr Capital head. Payments will come due for 36 Rafales (Rs 56,000 minus advance PM ordered), C-17s, 40 Tejas, SU-30MKIs, upgrades of Mirages and Mig-29s and transport planes and C-130S and may leave no cushion for anything else to be ordered.
The Revenue budget with newly hiked 7th Pay Commission for salaries, training, a new NE Mountain Corps, expanding Navy, many missile, aviation and gun firings, local operations, exercises abroad, fuels and travel etc has to come from Rs 1,72,773.89 cr. Last year it was Rs 1,49,051.34 cr, a mere 8% hike this year. Possibly inflation factored only.
The Navy remains static at Rs 19,348.16 crore capital, as against Rs 19,596.28 cr last year. Navy has 46 ships and submarines (Scorpenes) building in India, luckily slowly, refits of 2 submarines in Russia and 4 P8is on order. Navy needs multi role helicopters, infrastructure, 4 Krivacks, T226 LUH from Putin agreed by PM and strategic partnership organization to pursue 6P75I 6 SSNs.
Chahbahar port gets Rs 150 cr, Rashtriya Rifles, Rs 111.64 crore. Ministry of Home got around Rs 83,000 cr. Maldives and Bhutan get alllocarion. Shan No Varuna. Varuna. Vande Matarom.