No cut in defence budget, Fernandes tells troops

Defence Minister George Fernandes on Monday asked Indian armed forces not to be misled by reports of reduction in Defence budget even as he announced an ambitious Rs 160 bn project to build 300,000 ouses for the personnel in three years.

Defence Minister George Fernandes on Monday asked Indian armed forces not to be misled by reports of reduction in Defence budget even as he announced an ambitious Rs 160 bn project to build 300,000 ouses for the personnel in three years.

Addressing troops deployed in this historic border post, 15 kms from the Indo-Pak border, Fernandes said, "Do not be misled by reports of any reduction in the Defence budget. There will be no paucity of funds for ensuring the nation's security and the welfare of its armed forces."

He said Rs 5,000 crores allotted for Defence in last year's budget had to be returned "as it could not be utilised due to several factors" and that was adjusted against the present budget.

Fernandes said of the requirement of four lakh dwelling units for the armed forces and their families, only one lakh could be provided so far.

"The Prime Minister had announced last October that the remaining three lakhs would be constructed in the next four years. We have slightly improved on the target and plan to build three lakh houses within three years at an estimated cost of Rs 160 bn," he said.

He said that work on the ambitious project would begin from April one and one lakh houses would be built this year alone.

The Defence Minister said that he was not in favour of deployment of Army for internal duties as they were meant to fight the enemy.

Bureau Report

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