New Delhi:Army Chief Gen MM Naravane on Tuesday said the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) report, citing an acute shortage of high-altitude clothing and inadequate ration for troops deployed in Siachen and Ladakh, is based on an audit from 2015-16 and therefore, is a bit outdated.
Speaking to the media, Gen Naravane said, ''Indian Army spends around Rs one lakh alone on the clothing of each jawan deployed at high reaches, which includes everything from snow-goggles to boots. This is the kind of preparation we do. We make sure that the soldiers never fall short of any basic facility and I assure you that as of 2020 we are very well prepared.
The CAG report tabled in the Lok Sabha on Monday revealed that lack of required clothing and special ration has forced the troops to procure old and recycled gear and affected their calorie intake by 82 per cent. It cited limited budget constraint as the reason behind the acute shortage.
Talking on the 2020-21 Defence Budget of Rs 3.37 lakh crore announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday, Army General said, ''Defence Budget has seen a modest eight per cent growth year on year. We will be studying how to manage the budget in order to make full use of it.
''We will continue to modernise and notwithstanding what the budget allocations are made,'' he said, adding that last year itself, the Indian Army inducted more than four to five different kind of weapon systems.
''Modernisation has never been an issue, notwithstanding the budget allocation,'' he added.
Speaking about the facility created by the Army in Manesar, Haryana in the wake of evacuation of Indian students from the Novel Coronavirus-hit Wuhan city of China in the past few days, the Army Chief said it is a global epidemic, which is going to every country in the world.
''We had Indian nationals stuck in Wuhan and other parts of China. As part of the overall effort, the Army is also chipping in. It is to that extent that we have made a small camp at Manesar, which can accommodate 200-250 people at a time with medical detachment monitoring the people with symptoms on a daily basis,'' he added.(UNI)