Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

From Today's Papers - 02 Dec 2015

Army, Navy out in Chennai as heavy rain batters city, suburbs
Chennai, December 1
Non-stop torrential rain since last night pounded several parts of Chennai and its suburbs and Puducherry, triggering a deluge completely disrupting normal life as Army and Navy were deployed tonight in two suburban areas to undertake rescue on a war footing.

Two columns of Army's Garrison Infantry Battalion have been pressed into service in Tambaram and Oorapakkam after the Tamil Nadu Government sought military assistance. The Navy is also on stand-by.

"More army personnel are coming to Chennai from Bengaluru," a Defence Public Relations official said adding "they have already left for Chennai."

Navy personnel were deployed in Sadiapet area of Chennai to rescue people marooned in low-lying areas.

All flight operations at Chennai airport were suspended tonight. Eleven foreign and 9 domestic flights from the airport were put on hold as no landing or take-off was allowed till late in the evening. Officials said they might review the decision at midnight to take a call on resuming operations.

A senior airport official said while the runways were free of water logging, they suspended flight operations as a precautionary measure following waterlogging in some other areas, adding, they did not want to take a chance.

The rain that has virtually broken a 100-year-old record with one day's rainfall covering a month's average also flooded areas in Vadapalani, Valasaravakkam and Nandamvakkam. — PTI
India unsure on defence pact with US
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
Notwithstanding the growing defence ties between India and the US, New Delhi has yet again expressed reservations on signing all three US-suggested defence agreements.

Sources told The Tribune that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who will be on a seven-day visit to the US starting December 4, will convey to his counterpart Ashton Carter India’s reservations on one of agreements. In other words there could be progress on the other two.

Apart from this, the key agenda of Parrikar will be to question the US military and foreign policy towards Pakistan, sources said. The US and Pakistan are allies since the Cold War (1945 to 1991). The US had declared several Pakistan-based organisations as terror organisations but has string relationship with its military.

On the US-trip Parrikar will make history of sorts. He will become the first Indian Defence Minister to visit the Hawaii-based headquarters of the US Pacific Command (PACOM). The head of the PACOM is the most powerful military commander on earth, commanding almost 60 per cent of the US Navy — including six sea-borne aircraft carriers.

As per US demarcations, it oversees 52 per cent of the planet and is in touch with 36 countries, including China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, Vietnam, among others.

The issue of defence agreements was raised again by the US on February 26 after a lapse of three years when Washington made clear the importance of signing three “foundational agreements” on defence between the two countries, saying this will come in “handy” when transferring technology to India.

Senior Pentagon official Frank Kendall, the US-appointed pointsman for the much-talked-about Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), was in New Delhi to meet his counterpart, G Mohan Kumar, secretary, Defence Production. Kumar is now the Defence Secretary.

The agreements are: Communications interoperability and security memorandum of agreement (CISMOA), basic exchange and cooperation agreement for geo-spatial cooperation (BECA) and the logistics support agreement (LSA).

In the US, around the same time, Kenneth Handelman, Deputy Assistant Secretary (Defence Trade Controls) in the US State Department, said these were necessary.

“DTTI has progressed in the absence of the foundational agreements... but at some point, the foundational agreements are going to be an issue”. In 2010, then Defence Minister AK Antony had rejected outright the signing of these three agreements and even termed these “intrusive”.
Espionage case: Two jawans under scanner
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
Two Indian Army jawans based in Jammu and Kashmir, who allegedly regularly communicated with one of the two accused arrested for running the ISI supported espionage racket on Army and Border Security Force deployments in the state, have come under the scanner of the Delhi Police.

The two jawans allegedly communicated with Kafaitullah Khan, a library assistant at a school in Rajouri, J&K, who allegedly collected information from one of his sources, Abdul Rasheed, a BSF head constable, and passing it on to an ISI or Pakistan Intelligence Operative.
Seventh Pay Commission Implementation Likely Mid-2016: Macquarie India
The seventh pay commission that has recommended a 23.5 per cent hike in salaries for central government employees may only get implemented by the middle of next year, according to Rakesh Arora, managing director and head of research, Macquarie India.

However, there is no certainty that it would happen even in the next six months, he said.
"And still there is no guarantee that it is going to be implemented in the next six months, it is still for the government to really consider.

"So what we are saying is from the timing it can happen by middle of 2016 and not be pushed out too late."

The sixth pay commission was delayed by 2.5-3 years, Mr Arora pointed out.

The seventh pay commission, headed by Justice AK Mathur, last month submitted its report to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The recommendations, once cleared by the Cabinet, will lead to a substantial hike in salaries of central government employees and pensioners with effect from January 1, 2016.

However, there are worries on the fiscal deficit front due to the seventh pay commission, he said.
The government will incur an additional expenditure of Rs. 1.02 lakh crore to pay higher salaries and pensions recommended by the seventh Pay Commission. Of this, Rs. 28,000 crore will go for salary hikes of railway employees.

According to the finance minister, the implementation of the seventh pay commission will impact the fiscal deficit by 0.65 per cent of GDP.

However, it will ensure more money in the hands of the people, Mr Arora said. The salary hikes are expected to boost sales of affordable homes and consumer durables, which in turn will drive demand in the economy.

The seventh pay commission proposes a 16 per cent hike in basic salaries of 47 lakh serving government employees, and a 63 per cent hike in allowances. As a result, the overall hike in salaries will be 23.55 per cent.  This compares with the 35 per cent salary hike central government employees got on implementation of the sixth pay commission in 2008.

The minimum salary for central government employees has been fixed at Rs. 18,000 per month by the seventh pay commission.
Premature retirement clause: Armed forces convey OROP concerns to govt
The armed forces are worried about the organizational impact of the clause which directly affects serving military personnel.
The top hierarchy of the defence forces has conveyed to the government its concerns about the denial of OROP to military personnel seeking premature retirement from defence services now onwards. This clause is part of the government notification on OROP which conceded OROP to ex-servicemen who had taken premature retirement but denied it to those who seek premature retirement from now on.

The armed forces are worried about the organizational impact of the clause which directly affects serving military personnel. Top sources in service headquarters have confirmed to The Indian Express that top brass of at least two of the defence services have personally registered their concerns with senior levels of the government last month.

The defence services’ main concern is about the accretion of what they term as “non-performing assets”, military personnel who haven’t been promoted due to the steep hierarchical structure of the military. Disincentivised by denial of OROP, if these personnel do not seek premature retirement, they will continue to occupy the posts which would be otherwise tenanted by younger officials who have not been superseded. The incremental effect of disproportionately large numbers of superseded officials with every passing year will be detrimental to the military.

On an average, nearly 12,000-14,000 soldiers and JCOs, and 450-500 officers seek premature retirement from the army every year.

“Nearly half the officers get superseded by 40 years of age in the army. If they don’t opt for premature retirement, they will serve for another 14 years. There are not enough ‘sheltered’ appointments to post them away from important operations posts. This is bound to affect the efficiency, discipline and morale of the army, especially demotivate those working at the cutting edge level” says Srinath Raghavan, a former military officer and Senior Fellow at Centre for Policy Research.

The issue of OROP for premature retirees first came up when defence minister in September announced the exclusion of military personnel who have sought premature retirement from the ambit of OROP being granted by the government. Faced with strong opposition from protesting ex-servicemen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally announced in Faridabad that there was a misunderstanding and the issue of OROP for premature retirees will be resolved amicably.

In the government notification issued on 7th November, government agreed to grant OROP to all ex-servicemen, including those who had already taken premature retirement, but barred those who seek premature retirement from now on from getting OROP. The defence minister has asked the veterans to end their ongoing protests and place their complaints before the one-member judicial commission announced by the government.

“While the veterans can take their complaints over the notification to the judicial commission or courts, the service headquarters can’t do so. These concerns have to be thus raised internally at the highest levels by the military leadership lest it affects the operational effectiveness of our armed forces,” a senior military official said.

The Army Headquarters officially refused to respond to the story as, it said, “the matter is under consideration by the government”.

Defence services feel that the denial of OROP to military personnel going on premature retirement goes against the recommendations of the Ajai Vikram Singh Committee, which had recommended measures to reduce the age profile of officers. These recommendations were approved by the cabinet and implemented by the government.

“After the AVSC report, the government itself issued a policy stating that up to 3.1 percent of military personnel can be granted premature retirement every year. By keeping them out of OROP, government is working against its own principle of a young and motivated military,” the senior military official argued.

“Most modern armies work on the principle of “up or out”. Officials who don’t get promoted have to compulsorily retire after a fixed period in any rank, usually 4-5 years. That is how armies stay young, fresh and motivated. Making premature retirement attractive is the way in which India can work towards that goal. Denying OROP actually does the opposite,” Raghavan added.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal