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Congress opposes proposal to cut 1.5 lakh jobs in Army

Questioning the proposal to shed 1.5 lakh jobs in the Army to pay for maintaining the stock of weaponry, the Congress said here on Wednesday that it was a “cruel joke” that the government was ready to make mean-minded cuts while it had overpaid to buy the Rafale aircraft.

The Army is mulling over a proposal to cut 1.5 lakh jobs in the next few years to save between ₹5,000 crore and ₹7,000 crore to maintain and replenish the stock of weaponry that it currently held. The proposal has not yet been accepted.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the silence of the Narendra Modi government on the proposal spoke volumes.

“Are you, Mr. Modi, cutting 1.5 lakh jobs in the Army in the next few years? Are you doing it in a hidden and surreptitious manner, certainly without the complete consent, participation, informed understanding of our armed forces? Please answer. Your deafening silence tells its own story,” he said.

Mr. Singhvi said such mean-minded cuts will not go a long way in helping the Army. “Your government has spent ₹40,000-odd crore more to buy the Rafale aircraft; it is six times more than what you want to save in maintenance,” he said.

He said that during the campaign speeches, the BJP came up with fantastic figures, such as promises to bring in two crore jobs and now while in government, it was announcing job cuts.

“If the Modi Government can spend ₹5,000 crore in the last four- and-a-half years on the publicity of the Prime Minister, then why can’t it spend the same amount for weaponry and ammunition for our armed forces,” he asked. The Congress said ₹35 lakh was spent on the making of the Prime Minister’s fitness video and ₹60 crore was spent monthly for updating his pictures on government portals. “Is it not the worst kind of insult and slap on the face of the country and insult to our armed forces,” he added.

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