Submarine mishap: FM says Defence Ministry should spend wisely
New Delhi: In the wake of recent submarine mishap, Finance Minister P Chidambaram was today questioned by an NSUI member claiming to be sister of one of victims over the provision of sufficient funds to the Defence Ministry but he suggested that the armed forces were not spending “wisely”.
Chidambaram blamed the Navy for the incident, saying maintenance of the submarine appeared to have been neglected and that he was “sorry” for the mishap and loss of lives.
He insisted that the Finance Ministry provides “a lot of money” to the Defence Ministry and “I sincerely hope that the defence forces will learn a lesson and make sure that the money allotted to them is spent more wisely and more efficiently on essential matters.”
At a function organised by Congress’ student wing NSUI here, the woman said Lt Commander Kapish Muwal, who died in the mishap on INS Sindhuratna, was his brother and asked Chidambaram “why the government is not sanctioning money for security and safety” as casualties are taking place.
She also referred to the sinking of another submarine INS Sindhurakshak a few months back and said the ships are going for refits as the armed forces face shortage of finances.
Rejecting the perception that adequate finances are not provided for the armed forces, Chidambaram said, “As far as defence expenditure is concerned, I think it is not correct to say that enough money is not being provided. There is no such thing as ‘enough’.”
He argued that the government’s requirements are large and the Finance Ministry requires money for various departments and purposes. “And for defence, believe me, we have provided the maximum amount that we can,” he insisted.
Chidambaram noted that this time the Finance Ministry has allocated Rs 2.25 lakh crore for the defence, which is a “lot of money”.