The Congress on Wednesday accused the Modi government of compromising national security and displaying insensitivity on the issue of joblessness, following reports that there were plans to cut the strength of the Army by 1.5 lakh personnel.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the party is concerned about various reports in this regard and questioned why the Modi government was "not providing adequate funds" to the Army.
The opposition party's reaction came even as the government stated that there was no immediate plan to cut the strength of the Army.
Singhvi said if the reports are true, "then isn't the Modi Government guilty of destroying more jobs in the country? 1.5 lakh families will be severely affected by this decision."
which is so insensitive on the pressing issue of jobs and unemployment is again displaying its famous arrogance and abject apathy to crores of middle class youth and underprivileged. Instead of creating the promised two crore jobs per year, Modi Government
is hell bent in destroying more jobs. Why?" he asked.
Singhvi said if the government can spend Rs 5000 crore in last 4.5 years on publicity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi then why cannot it spend that same amount for weaponry and ammunition for the armed forces.
"We demand answers from the Modi Government in this regard," he said.
The Congress leader alleged that "Modi had spent Rs 35 lakh on his fitness videos, Rs 60 crore monthly on updating his pictures on petrol pumps, Rs 1,100 crore on a sprawling BJP headquarters and Rs 2000 crore on his foreign travels.
"Then why is the Modi Government not providing adequate funds to the Army?"
He alleged that the government has earned a windfall of Rs 11 lakh crore by levying central taxes on petrol-diesel, but it cannot spend Rs 5000-7000 crore on the Indian Army.
"It squandered Rs 41,000 crore by overpaying in the Rafale Purchase, but it cannot spend Rs 7,000 crore on the Indian Army," he alleged.
Accusing the government of compromising national security, he said former Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Sarath Chand had testified to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence headed by Maj. Gens BC Khanduri, and had "exposed a shameful state of neglect" towards the requirements of the armed forces.
Singhvi cited the report that stated that only eight per cent of Army's equipment is state-of-the-art, 68 per cent is vintage and that it cannot pay for emergency weapons purchase.
It also said that there are not enough resources to undertake the construction of strategic roads on China border and 'Make in India' scheme in defence has completely failed, he claimed.
Singhvi said the report stated that in 2018-19 budget, the defence sector was provided just 1.58 per cent of the GDP, the lowest ever allocation since 1962.
The Congress is proud of the courage and sacrifice of the armed forces, he said and alleged that the BJP only tries to garner political gains by talking about soldiers and security personnel and does not do anything for them.
"The BJP and the Modi Government have systematically compromised our national security," he alleged.
He accused Prime Minister Modi of inaction in the matter, saying, "What makes the above worse is that the PMO was aware of the problems with regard to the need for modernization and did nothing despite his urgent intervention being sought."
Singhvi said despite the Parliament report, "it is not known whether the PMO has made any reference to Ministry of Finance
in this regard. This Ministry has not received any additional allocation subsequent to taking up the matter with PMO."
"It is now clear that the PMO was briefed on the issue over a year ago and has done absolutely nothing. The Committee's recommendation was to try and request the Prime Minister's intervention again," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)