Inching closer to the Lok Sabha elections, interim finance minister Piyush Goyal, on Friday, while presenting the interim budget, hit big in the defence budget with the Centre announcing a significant financial outlay for the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.

The defence budget, interim finance minister Piyush Goyal announced, was increased for the first time to three lakh crore in 2019-20 “for securing our borders and to maintain preparedness of highest order and if necessary additional funds will be provided."

The 2018-19 Union Budget witnessed a mere 7.81% hike to 2.95 trillion, while in 2017-18 it stood at 2.74 trillion, defying expectations of a significant rise when the armed forces have been facing growing challenges along the borders with both Pakistan and China.

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In his budget address, Piyush Goyal said the government has rolled out the One Rank One pension (OROP) scheme.

“Our soldiers protect our borders in tough conditions. They are our pride and honour and we have kept them in mind in the election manifesto and had promised to implement OROP. It was pending for 40 years but was resolved by us. While the previous government announced it in three budgets we have disbursed 35000 crore for OROP," Goyal said.

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While Goyal also announced a “substantial hike in military service pay deployed in high risk areas," no additional announcement was made for arms and weaponry.

Last year, out of total allocation of 295,511 crore for defence budget, only 99,947 crore was set aside for capital outlay to purchase of new weapons, aircraft, warships and other military hardware. The allocation has been estimated at around 1.58% of the GDP and 12.10% of the total budget of 2,442,213 crore for 2018-19.

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