Defence budget up by 10% to Rs 627 billion

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The PML-N government on Wednesday announced an increase of 10 percent in the defence budget, earmarking Rs 627 billion ($6.3 billion) for the defence services in the next fiscal year 2013-14.

The budget documents presented in parliament by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said a sum of Rs 627 billion had been allocated for defence services for 2013-14.

The Nawaz-led PML-N government announced its first budget on Wednesday after assuming power a few days ago against a backdrop of high inflation, weak economic growth, grave energy crisis and depleting foreign exchange reserves.

In the outgoing fiscal 2012-13, the PPP-led coalition government had allocated Rs 545 billion for defence services but later that allocation was revised and increased to Rs 570 billion. Hence, the hike in the defence budget in next fiscal is 15 percent if it is compared to the actual allocations announced in the last budget but comparison with the revised allocations of Rs 570 billion makes it an increase of 10 percent.

According to budgetary allocations, the army got the major share of the outlay with Rs 301.54 billion, the air force was allocated Rs 131.18 billion and the navy will get Rs 62.80 billion.

The budget documents showed that the government had allocated Rs 2,300 million for the Defence Production Division in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for 2013-14.

Of this amount, Rs 2246.300 million has been allocated for installing a ship lift, transfer system and associated machinery and equipment to provide docking and repair facilities for surface ships, submarines and commercial vessels at Karachi port.

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