A parliamentary panel has noted that the current allocation in the Union budget for defence R&D is not enough for India's aspirations to become a global leader.
The panel suggested that the defence R&D budget should be increased twofold in the upcoming years.
The parliamentary standing committee on defence, in a report regarding the functioning of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has recommended that the present budget allocation for research, which is currently at 5.38 per cent, needs to be raised to between 8-10 per cent, Economic Times reported.
"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.
The panel has also expressed reservations about the current situation concerning the use of funds for R&D activities in DRDO, without delving into specifics.
The committee has highlighted a progressive decrease in the research and development budget from 6.59 per cent in 2010-11 and 6.6 per cent in 2014-15 to 5.38 per cent in the current budget.
It was also pointed out that a quarter of the budget, approximately Rs 1300 crore, is now reserved for the private sector, which reduces the funds available for DRDO to allocate to its projects.
The committee's report emphasised that research and development is critical for a strong modern defence mechanism, and that the government must ensure adequate funding for DRDO's in-house projects, along with outsourcing defence research and development.
The report said 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".
The report further said that India will soon become a major exporter of arms and ammunition.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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