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Wednesday, 9 March 2016

From Today's Papers - 09 Mar 2016

1st batch of women fighter pilots in June
New Delhi, March 8
The first batch of women fighter pilots, comprising three cadets, will be inducted into the Indian Air Force on June 18.

Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said three women trainee officers had volunteered to be inducted in the combat role. "We inducted women as pilots in 1991, but on only helicopter and transport (planes). I must thank the Defence Minister for having approved the IAF's proposal to induct women as fighter pilots. Very soon...on June 18, the Air Force will get women fighter pilots.

"As of now three women trainees have volunteered to join the fighter stream. They are under the second phase of their training. Once they complete their training...they are on par with their male colleagues and the passing out parade is scheduled on June 18," Raha said.

He was speaking at a seminar on 'Women in Armed Medical Corps' organised to mark International Women's Day here, which was also attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

The Defence Ministry had cleared the proposal of inducting women as fighter pilots in October last year. Parrikar also lauded Raha’s insistence to push forward the proposal to induct women as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force. —PTI
Pak court summons Musharraf in high treason case
Islamabad: A Pakistani court on Tuesday asked former military dictator Pervez Musharraf to appear before it on March 31 for the hearing of high treason case against him after the ex-President did not turn up citing bad health. The three-member special court ordered Musharraf to attend the hearing on March 31 in person and respond to the charges against him in the treason case launched in 2013 for imposing emergency in 2007 when he was president. High treason is punishable with death if proved. PTI
Shortage of Officers in the Indian Army: Defence minister tells Rajya Sabha
New Delhi, Mar 8 : Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in a written reply to Vijay Goel in Rajya on Tuesday, said that there were 40,525 officers against an authorized strength of 49,631 officers in the Indian Army (excluding Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Military Nursing Service), July 1, 2015.

He said that shortage of officers is inter alia attributable to accretions of posts from time to time, tough selection procedures, difficult service conditions coupled with perceived high degree of risk involved in the service career as also inherent limitation of number that could be trained without compromising the quality of training.

The minister, in his reply said, a number of measures have been taken from time to time to reduce the shortage of officers in the Army, including making Short Service Commission more attractive, introduction of Colonel (Time Scale) rank, enhancing promotional avenues by way of upgradation of posts in select ranks, additional family accommodation through Married Accommodation Project.

He also said that the Army has undertaken sustained image projection campaign to create awareness among the youth on the advantages of taking up a challenging and satisfying career. Awareness campaigns, participation in career fairs and exhibitions, advertisements in print and electronic media, motivational lectures in schools, colleges are some of the measures in this direction.

All the above mentioned measures have resulted in progressive improvement with shortage of officers reducing from around 26 per cent in 2010 to approximately 18 per cent in 2015, in spite of accretion of about 1800 posts during this period, said the defence minister.
Army, Defence Ministry defend move to construct bridges for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's World Culture Festival
New Delhi: Amid the raging controversy over World Culture Festival being organised here by the Art of Living Foundation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Indian Army has been facing flak for building two pontoon bridges on the Yamuna river for the event.

Stepping in to clarify, the Defence Ministry has stated that the Army pitched in to help in building supporting infrastructure for the event in view of security and safety of lakhs of people who are expected to attend the event from March 11 to 13 on grounds adjacent to the Yamuna river near Mayur Vihar.

The ministry said the Army has been involved in building bridges on earlier occasions as well.
“Army personnel have made pontoon bridges during the Kumbh mela. The Army had even constructed a foot-over bridge for the Commonwealth Games (in 2010) after a bridge collapsed a few days before the event commenced,” the ministry said.

Ministry sources said the organisers had requested the Army to construct six pontoon bridges on the Yamuna river, but they are making just two.
Meanwhile, Army sources told NDTV that the organisers of the event have been categorically told the liability for any accident will rest with them.

Sources also said the organisers will have to pay up the cost for construction of bridges by the Army.
Safety concerns were raised, including fears of a stampede, as nearly 35 lakh people are expected to attend the event spread over three days.

Several high-profile dignitaries including Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the event.

President Pranab Mukherjee, who had earlier given his consent to attend the opening ceremony, has now declined, amid fears that the event will cause irreparable damage to the Yamuna ecosystem.

The National Green Tribunal is due to rule on petitions against the event, later today. 

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