New Delhi: In a move to check rising expenditure on pensions in the budget which has impeded allocation for more priority items, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat suggested increasing the age of retirement.
Responding to criticism that an increase of six per cent (from last year) in the defence budget for the Financial Year (FY) 2021 was ‘inadequate’ in order to meet the modernisation needs of the armed forces, he had sought increasing retirement age. The defence budget for FY 2020-21 stands at Rs 3.37 lakh crore but several experts have termed it ‘inadequate’ for much-needed modernisation of the armed forces.
The CDS contended that rising pension budget from Rs 1.12 lakh crore to Rs 1.33 lakh crore could be controlled by increasing the retirement age of jawans.
“I will give high priority to pension management through the increase in age of retirement progressively in the three services keeping in mind the operational requirements of the different arms and services,” he said.
The pension budget of the armed forces has increased sharply in the last 10 years after One Rank One Pension (OROP) was implemented post the Seventh Pay Commission.
Among other measures to deal with budgetary constraints, the CDS wished to accelerate the Modi government’s flagship ‘Make in India’ scheme for the defence sector and a phased purchase of military hardware to increase efficiency.
Boosting schemes like ‘Make in India’ for the defence industry, he added, will reduce the cost of acquisition of weapons. This will also aid in sourcing money from infrastructure funds and using defence land for building houses for troops, he noted.