Defence budget goes up 13pc to Rs1.8tr

By Staff Reporter | Dawn Jun 10, 2023

The government aims to spend Rs1.804 trillion on defence over the next year, which is around 13 per cent higher than the revised allocation for the outgoing year.

The defence budget makes up nearly 1.7pc of the GDP and 12.5pc of the total expenditure planned by the government for the next year, the budget documents for the 2023-24 fiscal year showed on Friday.

Last year, Rs1.57tr was allocated for defence affairs and services. However, it was later revised higher to Rs1.59tr.

A breakdown of the latest allocation reveals that the army, as always, got the lion’s share of Rs824.6 billion of the total budget, followed by Pakistan Air Force Rs368.5bn, and Pakistan Navy Rs188.2bn.

Allocation accounts for 1.7pc of GDP

Likewise, the pension of retired military officials also increased by 26pc to Rs563bn, from Rs446bn in the outgoing fiscal year.

The military’s pension, however, is not included in the budget meant for defence services, while other defence-related procurements and strategic programmes are not itemised in the budget, including the budget for strategic nuclear arsenals.

As per details of the defence budget, Rs5.4bn has been allocated for defence administration, Rs705bn for employees related expenses, Rs442bn for operating expenses, Rs461bn for physical assets and Rs195bn for civil works.

This defence services estimates also includes salaries and allowances paid to troops in uniform and civilian employees; operating expenses include transport, petroleum, oil and lubricants, rations, medical treatment, training, etc.; physical assets utilised for local purchases and import of arms and ammunition and related procurements; and civil works that include funds marked for maintenance of existing infrastructure and construction of new buildings.

The government has also allocated Rs3.4bn for ongoing and new schemes of the defence division under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2023-24.

Of this, the government has allocated Rs3.3bn from the local component and Rs5 million from the foreign aid component.

Under the ongoing schemes, Rs190m has been allocated for the developing ICT and Artificial Intelligence-Based Precision Agriculture System utilising dual-use Aerospace Technologies-Green AI, Rs853m for setting up the National Aerospace Science and Technology Park (NASTP) and Aviation City Pakistan (ACP), and Rs60m for a feasibility study for establishing the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) for Pakistan.

Moreover, Rs40.4m has been set aside for establishing the Institute of Inclusive Education in Islamabad, Rs223.6m for establishing the National University of Pakistan in Islamabad, Rs170m for NIHD Centre of Excellence for Preventive, Cardiovascular Research and Deve­lopment (NEPCARD), Rs558.1m to acquire land from CDA for establishing a medical city in Islamabad by the National University of Medical Science (Phase-I), and Rs17.46m for the water distribution network for RCB/CCB based on Khanpur Dam Water Source (Phase-III).

Besides, Rs9m has been allocated for establishing New Generation National Geodetic Datum of Pakistan, Rs272m for procuring modern drones for the aerial photographic survey, Rs300m for indigenous construction of five fast response boats (FRBs), Rs123.89m for establishing a tech assessment lab, Rs282.541 for building a dual carriageway at Charar drain from Burki Road to Kamahan via Baidian Road (5km), Rs100m for upgrading Zarrar Shaheed Road Drain (3km), Rs100m for building a road from BRB Canal to Hadyara (9km), and Rs100m for building a road from Azam Chowk Kamahan to Lidhar Baidian Road (7km).

The government has also allocated an amount of Rs2bn for the two ongoing projects of Defence Production under the next fiscal year’s PSDP.

Under the ongoing projects, Rs100m has been allocated for establishing a project management cell for creating a shipyard at Gwadar and Rs1.9bn to upgrade the infrastructure of Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works.

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