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Tuesday, 13 May 2008

From Today's Papers - 13 May

A Cowboy's Guide to Life -
http://aggi-ponderings.blogspot.com/2008/05/cowboys-guide-to-life.html

















India develops K-15 SLBM

New Delhi, May 12
For the first time ever, India has admitted to having successfully developed nuclear-capable K-15 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), thus becoming the fifth country in the world to acquire such a capability.

With the successful development of this missile system, India has joined a select group of nations -- the US, Russia, France and China -- which possessed such a capability.

The SLBM project has completed India’s nuclear triad, giving it the capability of launching nuclear weapons from air, surface and underwater platforms.

India already has Agni-I (700-km range), Agni-II (2000-km-plus) ballistic missiles and Agni-III (3,500-km) as the land-based nuclear deterrent.

Fighters like Sukhoi-30MKI and Mirage-2000s, which could be jury-rigged to carry nuclear weapons, constituted the air-based leg.

SLBMs for a retaliatory strike is considered crucial given India’s stated no first use policy for nuclear weapons.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had been conducting several subsystem level tests of the missile over the past one year. India, at present, does not have a submarine that could be used to test-fire the missile.

The K-15 missile is designed and developed by the DRDO to be integrated with the “mother ship”.

The “mother ship” refers to the three indigenous nuclear-powered submarines being built at Visakhapatnam in the 25-year-old ATV (advanced technology vessel) project, which will overall cost around Rs 20,000 crore.

The first of the three 6,000-tonne ATVs, each designed to carry 12 vertical-launched nuclear-tipped SLBMs, would be ‘ready to go to sea’ for trials by early 2009.

It would, however, take two to three years for the two-stage solid-fuelled K-15 to be integrated with the first ATV and then be test-fired from it.

Powered by a turbojet, the K-15 missile, earlier known as Sagarika, could carry a nuclear warhead of 500-kg from an undersea location to a range of 700-km. It is 8.5 metre long and about a metre in diameter.

The admission came in the form of a citation to scientist A.K. Chakrabarti and his team for receiving the DRDO Award for Performance Excellence - 2007.

“Chakrabarti and his team has designed and developed a state-of-the-art missile system with capability of being launched from sub-surface environment,” read the DRDO award citation.

The performance of the missile system was far higher than the specified requirement given by the user, it added.

“The missile system has already been accepted by the user and is presently under production for induction into the services,” the citation said.

In recognition of this rare scientific contribution, the DRDO Award for Performance Excellence 2007, is conferred on Chakrabarti and his team of 86 scientists, it added. — UNI


Nepali Gorkhas may not be part of Army

New Delhi, May 12
India’s first field marshal, S.H.F.J. Manekshaw, preferred calling himself Sam ‘Bahadur’ as a sign of respect for the brave Gorkha soldiers, most of whom came from Nepal. However, a call by Nepal Maoist chief Prachanda not to allow them to join the Indian army could have an impact on the traditional military ties between the two countries.

“If anyone says he is not afraid of anything, either he is lying or he is a Gorkha,” Manekshaw once said.

However, Prachanda, who is poised to head the government in the Himalayan nation, told reporters on April 25 that Nepali Gorkhas should not be allowed to join Indian Defence Forces.

There are two types of Gorkhas in the Indian Army - those hailing from India (who have migrated from Nepal long ago) and the others from Nepal. Under a tripartite agreement signed between India, Nepal and the Britain in 1947, Gorkhas from Nepal were allowed to work in the British and Indian Armies.

Now, nearly 40,000 Nepali Gorkhas are employed in the Indian Army.

“Nepali Gorkhas have been part of the Indian Army for a very long time. If they are stopped from joining the Army then the association between the Armies, the countries will be affected,” former Chief of Army Staff Gen Ved Prakash Malik said.

India and Nepal share such a close relationship that the Indian Army chief is honorary chief of the Nepali Army traditionally and vice-versa.

“It is not only a question of strength, but also our proximity and tradition,” said Malik.

Besides, impacting the age-old ties between the two nations, Prachanda’s demand, if acceded to, can lead to anarchy in Nepal due to a large-scale unemployment, say military experts here. — IANS


Disclosure of all contents in ACRs mandatory, rules SC

New Delhi, May 12
In a major boost to the government staff, the Supreme Court today ruled that it was mandatory for the authorities to disclose all contents of the annual confidential report (ACR) to the employee concerned.

A Bench of Justices H.K. Sema and Markandeya Katju rejected the Centre’s argument that it was under an obligation only to disclose the “adverse remarks” against an employee.

“We do not agree. In our opinion every entry must be communicated to the employee concerned so that he may have an opportunity of making a representation against it if he is aggrieved,” the apex court observed in a judgement while upholding the appeal filed by Dev Dutt, who has since retired.

Significantly, the apex court said it was developing a “new principles of natural justice” by passing the direction.

“In the present case, we are developing the principles of natural justice by holding that fairness and transparency in public administration requires that all entries (whether poor, fair, average, good or very good) in the annual confidential report of a public servant, whether in civil, judicial, police or any other State services (except in military), must be communicated to him within a reasonable period,” the Bench said.

The apex court said when an entry is communicated to a public servant, he/she should have a right to make a representation and the authority concerned must decide the representation in a fair manner and within a reasonable period.

“We also hold that the representation must be decided by an authority higher than the one who gave the entry, otherwise the likelihood is that the representation will be summarily rejected without adequate consideration as it would be an appeal from Caesar to Caesar,” the bench observed.

Such an action would be conducive to fairness and transparency in public administration and would result in fairness to public servants, the apex court said.

“The state must be a model employer and must act fairly towards its employees. Only then would good governance be possible,” it observed.

The apex court asserted that non-disclosure of the ACR contents to a public servant amounted to arbitrariness and violative of Article 14 (right to equality before law) as it deprives the employee concerned promotional opportunities..

Dev Dutt, the appellant who was working with the Border Roads Engineering Services, a central government undertaking, had filed the appeal against an order of the Guwahati High Court which had ruled that the authorities were not under any obligation to reveal the contents of the ACR to the employee concerned, if it was not adverse in nature.

It was the argument of Dev Dutt that the remarks of “good” made in his ACR by the superior was not disclosed to him and as a result of which he could not make a representation to the higher authorities for upgrading the grading to “very good”.

According to him, as the entry “good” could not be upgraded to “very good”, he was denied promotion to the post of Superintending Engineer from the post of Executive Engineer. — PTI


CAG to tie up with defence institutes for training
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 12
The comptroller and auditor-general (CAG) has mooted a proposal to tie up with certain defence training institutes to enable its personnel to get a better perspective of the military system of functioning. This would help auditors in fine tuning their audit mechanism.

Stating this in his keynote address at the annual command officers’ conference organised by the CAG’s Defence Services Wing, additional deputy CAG Samar Ray listed institutes like the College of Defence Management and the College of Materials Management as potential training grounds for auditors.

He also laid emphasis on the audit of critical issues and high-risk areas like capital acquisitions, contract audit, procurement audit and proper training in domain knowledge for selecting performance audits.

A holistic system of audit of controls in an organisation, including internal audit and techniques like statistical sampling to quantify risk, scrutiny of Army works, land management of defence estates as well as research and development projects were the other areas of focus, he said.

In his address, the director-general of audit, defence services, said the defence audit set-up was established in alignment with various Army Commands, with controllers of defence accounts responsible for their respective regions. He added the objective of defence audit was to bring to focus the deficiencies in the system in the context of the huge budget of the Army, which was almost comparable to the budget of many states.

The aim of the conference is to take stock of last year’s achievement and plan for the future and make audit more valuable by getting inputs from stakeholders, especially the Army. The four-day conference will also focus on identifying issues for audit during the ensuing year, besides various administrative and training matters.

Developing risk-based audit guidelines for various areas of audit and incorporating these in the defence audit manual, strengthening the use of information technology in defence audit and concerns pertaining to audit of cantonment boards are other issues on the agenda. Command officers of the defence audit would also be making presentations on their audit plans for the coming year.

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