Truck manufacturing not critical technology: Govt

New Delhi: Amidst the raging controversy over Tatra trucks procured by Indian Army, the government today said truck manufacturing was not a critical technology and so they were bought from private vendors.

"There is no need for us to manufacture everything," Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju said during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.

Trucks are manufactured at Ordnance Factory, Jabalpur, and higher class of vehicles will be manufactured if it is felt that it is critical technology. "As it is not critical technology, its (manufacture) is not given priority," he said.

Neither he nor Najma Heptulla (BJP), who had asked the question, named Tatra. Heptulla said Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley had yesterday remarked that Indian defence forces can manufacture missiles and rockets but not trucks.

In March, Army chief General V K Singh had stated that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to clear sub-standard Tatra trucks, opening a can of worms.

Raju said Rs 193,407.29 crore has been allocated from the Budget for defence services for 2012-13. "The budgetary provision of Rs 193,407.29 crore made for the Defence Services Estimates is 15.5 per cent less than the projected requirements for the various Services/Departments," he said.

Rs 112,096.22 crore was sought for Army, Rs 44,478.90 crore for Navy and Rs 56,838.25 crore for Air Force. Against this, Rs 96,564.83 crore was allocated for Army, Rs 37,314.44 crore for Navy and Rs 48,220.26 crore to Air Force. "The funds allocated are adequate to meet the obligatory charges, essential maintenance requirements, contractual commitments and some fresh modernisation schemes for the present," he said.

He, however, admitted that the allocation would show a decline over the previous year if inflation and depreciation of rupee was taken into account.