Armed forces seek Rs 752bn in defence budget in 2014-15

* Army expected to get Rs 372bn, PAF Rs 157bn and navy Rs 75bn * Defence Ministry wants Finance Division to increase budget for armed forces by at least 20pc

ISLAMABAD: The defence authorities have recommended to the federal government an allocation of Rs 752 billion for the fiscal year 2014-15, which is also 20 percent more than the ongoing fiscal year’s defence budget of Rs 627, presently revised at Rs 655 billion.
The authorities sought more than Rs 372 billion for the Pakistan Army, Rs 157 billion for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Rs 75 billion for the Pakistan Navy in the upcoming defence budget (operational), Daily Times has learnt.
With budgetary allocations for federal government departments and related organisations under the preparatory phase, the Defence Ministry has formally recommended to the Ministry of Finance/Finance Division an increase of not less than 20 percent in the annual fiscal budget of the armed force for the upcoming year (2014-15), starting in coming June, it is further learnt. 
The Defence Ministry’s reported recommendations, according to informed Military Finance officials, landed at the Finance Ministry sometime in the recent past, following interactions between the three services chiefs and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the recent months.
Last Wednesday, this correspondent inquired from Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, prior to his leaving for Turkey, whether the defence budget for the three defence services was finalised and if he could share any relevant details involving the specifications on this count. 
The minister replied that the budgetary allocations were in the preparatory phase and no exact figures could be given. 
Sources, on the other hand, share that the Defence Ministry has already sent its recommendations to the Finance Division/Ministry of Finance in the ongoing month regarding the next fiscal year’s defence budget, which, the officials said, are expected to be incorporated in the finalised budgetary allocations without any major changes.
Interestingly, the defence budget (2013-14) initially included the annual budget of the Aviation Division comprising the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Airport Security Force (ASF) and Pakistan Meteorological Department. 
But following the government’s decision to separate Aviation Division from the Defence Ministry’s administrative control, last year, funds were diverted from the defence budget to Aviation Division accordingly. In the next fiscal year, up to Rs 250 billion are expected to go the Aviation Division, of which, the PIA, which is to be privatised, is expected to get Rs 125 billion, as compared to its present budget of Rs 105 billion.

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Aaj Kal