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Sunday, 20 December 2015

From Today's Papers - 20 Dec 2015

CAG finds loopholes in CAPF’s housing plans
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) were not able to meet the requirements of office and residential buildings for CAPF personnel, leading to low satisfaction among them.

A CAG’s performance audit — ‘Construction activities in CAPFs’— was tabled in Parliament yesterday. It was undertaken from 2008-09 to 2013-14.

“The core issues such as a delay in acquisition of land by CAPFs from the states, lack of transparency in the selection of executing agencies, cost overrun and time overrun in construction projects, lack of coordination between executing agencies and CAPFs and poor monitoring of the projects, remain unresolved,” reads the report.

It said only 1.54 lakh dwelling units were available for the CAPFs personnel against the authorised requirement of 2.99 lakh dwelling units. Similarly, against the requirement of 5,113 office buildings, only 2,041 were available.

The satisfaction level in providing residential accommodation for CAPFs was low, says the report. It ranged from 2.96% to 22.48% as on March, 2014, against the targeted 25% satisfaction level.

It says there was significant delay beyond prescribed time limit ranging between five months and 9.7 years in 56 cases of the 132 selected land acquisition cases worth Rs 236.05 crore.

The MHA didn’t fix time limits for finalising preliminary estimates of construction projects. “This pushed the project backwards by several months,” says the report.
Nations outside South China Sea shouldn’t flex muscles: Envoy
KV Prasad

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 19

Amid intermittent tensions in the South China Sea, China today warned that countries which are not present in the region should not interfere through “muscle flexing”, cautioning the move could complicate security in the area.

“Countries that are outside or have nothing to do with the region should not meddle in these issues. This will make it worse,” China’s Ambassador to India, Le Yucheng, said speaking at ‘The Asia Pacific Country: India and Big Power Engagement’ organised here.

The message came close on the heels of Beijing’s claim that the US flew two B-52 bombers near an island there on December 10 and Washington despatched a guided-missile destroyer close to one of China’s man-made islands during October.

Last month, India had said that it shares a commitment with ASEAN with regard to freedom of navigation, over-flight and unimpeded commerce in accordance with accepted principles of international law, thereby suggesting that the territorial dispute be settled through peaceful means.

New Delhi said it hoped all parties to the dispute in the South China Sea would abide by the guidelines on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the area.

Beijing lays claim on most of the South China Sea through which over $5 trillion of the world trade passes every year. Countries including Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan make competing claims over the territories.

In his address at the event, the Chinese envoy said the global situation could be characterised by three Cs – Chaos, Change and Cooperation. “Peace and development are not given. These must be earned and cherished. As major countries in the region, China and India have a unique role to play for peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific.”

China and India have much to offer each other and face great opportunities to align their strategies, complement each other and substantiate cooperation, he said. BJP leader Ram Madhav advocated freedom of navigation, emphasising that the new construct refers to the Indo-Pacific region instead of Asia-Pacific.
President’s Call To Accelerate Pace of Military Innovation
The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee attended the Convocation Ceremony of the 96th Degree Engineering and 24th Technical Entry Scheme courses of Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering today at Secunderabad.

Addressing the students, the President said as young technocrats, it would be their responsibility, to adapt latest developments in the field of technology for use by the defence forces by accelerating the pace of military innovation. The nation will look upon them to define and modify the way defence forces operate, by using technological advances to provide a comparative edge over our adversaries. As young technocrats, they must remember that the Indian Army has been the torch bearer of many non-military innovations. Military Technology has benefited civil society immensely and its spin-offs have contributed significantly to nation building.

The President said the history of warfare bears testimony to the decisive role of technology on the outcome of military conflicts. To maintain an edge in military capability over potential opponents, constant efforts are required to upgrade technology. Armed Forces and technology have been strategic partners, in developing and enhancing the defence capability of the nation.

Stating that their graduation is the beginning of a very challenging journey, he said they live in an era where the pace of technology transition is so fast, “that even as I speak, new concepts are being introduced, established paradigms are being re-defined and research is opening new vistas”. The change being driven by path-breaking research is both exhilarating and mesmerizing. “Your challenge would be to harness the latest defence technologies and ensure that the Indian Army benefits from these”.

Pranab said that knowledge, which is the ultimate power, is emerging as the currency of the world in the present century. “Your knowledge and enthusiasm will lead you to creative ideas and innovations, which will impact and improve the existing methods and systems. Your passion to accept and overcome challenges would empower you to achieve both national and organisational goals”.

He further said that as young technocrats, they must remember that the Indian Army has been the torch bearer of many non-military innovations. “I am very happy to note that both the Graduating courses have undertaken projects involving state-of-the-art technologies, ranging from Biometrics to Solar Power. The wide variety of projects will find use both in civil society as well as military fields. Military Technology has benefited civil society immensely and its spin-offs have contributed significantly to nation building. I was extremely happy to know that on Army Day this year, the Prime Minister gave awards for excellence to eight projects of Indian Army, of which four were from MCEME. I am certain that all of you will continue this legacy and your tryst with technology shall continue”, he added.

Lt. Gen Gurmukh Singh, Commandant, Military college of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering, said that Oranab is the third President to visit the college, the first two being Dr Rajendra Prasad and Dr S Radha Krishnan. Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh ESL Narasimhan, Lt Gen PM Hariz, GOC-in-C, ARTRAC, Lt Gen KJ Singh, Direftor General of electronics and Mechanical Engineering, were among those present. Maj Gen Sanjeev Khanna supervised the entire training of DE and TES course. (NSS)

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