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Business News/ News / India/  Nirmala Sitharaman alleges shortage of defence ammunition under UPA govt: 'No bulletproof jackets'
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Nirmala Sitharaman alleges shortage of defence ammunition under UPA govt: 'No bulletproof jackets'

Focusing “on some of the critical aspects of the White Paper”, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the shortage of ammunition and defence equipment was the main feature of 2014 when the NDA govt inherited the economy.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Friday. (ANI)Premium
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Friday. (ANI)

"The national security was compromised" under the previous Congress government, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in the Lok Sabha on Friday. She was replying to a debate on the White Paper in the House.

While "focusing on some of the critical aspects of the White Paper", the finance minister said, "Critical shortage of ammunition and defence ammunition was the main feature of 2014 when we inherited the economy."

ALSO READ: Congress' 'black paper' vs govt's ‘white paper’: A look at last ten years from different perspectives

"Bulletproof jackets were not available for our soldiers...Night vision goggles were not available, so in the night they couldn't do a thing and were exposing themselves like sitting ducks in pitch darkness...," she said in the Lok Sabha.

Speaking about the "corruption in defence" in the UPA era, Sitharaman said, "There was 3,600 crore of AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper scam in 2013. In some other context, in 2011, CAG had pulled up the Defence Ministry for delay in buying artillery guns. Defence was compromised continuously...Total ignoring of armed forces."

She further talked about the steps taken by the Narendra Modi government to boost self-reliance in defence and expedite environmental clearances for faster economic development.

"…It is a matter of pride that due to Make in India push, today INS Vikrant, LCA Tejas, Akash, BrahMos missiles, main battle tank Arjun, and artillery gun system Dhanush are all being manufactured in India. Besides this, today women are flying Rafale and guarding the borders too...," Sitharaman said.

Sitharaman said the Defence budget has doubled during the last 10 years of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. "In 2013-14, it was 2.53 lakh crore. Now it is 6.22 lakh crore in 2024-25. Capital expenditure, including border roads and for defence forces, equipment investments, defence capital budget increased from 86,741 crore in 2013-14 to 1.72 lakh crore this year," she added.

Sitharaman said the 'White Paper on Indian Economy' tabled by the government in Parliament was a "serious document" and reflects the dedicated efforts of the BJP-led government to bring the economy "back on rails" after 10 years of "economic mismanagement" of the UPA government.

 

Her statement came amid Opposition leaders asking about the author of the White Paper.

ALSO READ: Budget 2024: White paper on pre- and post-2014 economy soon

The White Paper, comparing 10 years of economic management of the Congress-led UPA government with that of the Modi government, was tabled in Parliament on Thursday.

ALSO READ: Find out what Nirmala Sitharaman will bring to the table with 'White Paper' in Lok Sabha today

RSP leader NK Premachandran had slammed the government, saying the government was apprehensive of the electorate in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections and had brought the White Paper to blame the UPA government for its failures.

He said the government was afraid of "exponential growth in unemployment and spiralling price rise" and urged members to disapprove of the motion brought by the government.

Responding to those who objected to the government's White Paper, Nirmala Sitharaman said, “I challenge anyone who says this document is baseless. Everything is with evidence. I challenge anyone who would say that we have kept the White Paper which has no proof."

(With inputs from ANI)

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Published: 09 Feb 2024, 08:15 PM IST
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