Defence research budget insufficient to make India global power: Parliamentary panel

The current allocation earmarked towards India’s Defence research budget is insufficient at present, for India’s aspirations to be a global leader, a Parliamentary Panel has observed.

Moreover, the panel has recommended that the budget should be doubled over the coming years.

In a report on the functioning of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the parliamentary standing committee on defence has said that the current allocation of 5.38% of the budget for research needs to be increased to 8-10%.

“Drawing a comparative analysis of the budgetary spending on R&D in India with that of developed countries, the committee takes note that with the current percentage of funding, our country can only aspire to become atmanirbhar and protect ourselves.

However, to have aspirations to become a global leader, this percentage will not be sufficient,” the committee has noted.

Further, it has also expressed reservations about the existing state of affairs regarding the utilisation of funds for R&D activities in DRDO, without dwelling into details.

The committee has also noted that the research and development percentage was at 6.59% in 2010-11 and 6.6% in 2014 -15 but has been progressively reduced to 5.38% in the current budget.

Besides, it also observed that 25% of the budget (around Rs 1300 crore) is now earmarked for the private sector, leaving an even smaller amount for DRDO to allocate to its projects.

“The committee observes that R&D is a prerequisite for a robust modern defence mechanism and the government has to take care of funds for in-house projects of DRDO along with outsourcing defence R&D,” the report reads.

It concludes that the budgetary grants of DRDO “should be suitably enhanced so that India could become a global leader in the field of armament and new tech weapon systems and DRDO also be able to make first-of-its-kind products,” adding that India will soon become a major exporter of arms and ammunition.