Saturday, March 24, 2012

Corruption and Bureaucratic Delays Degrading Defence Capability

Remember 50 years ago the defeat of Indian Army against Chinese PLA- No lessons learnt!
11 Mar, 2012, 05.06AM IST, The writer Binoy Prabhakar,ET Bureau

How India compares with China in military prowess
China's increased military spending, by 11% this year and 12.7% last year, is matched by its growing assertiveness in pressing territorial claims. A classic example is the South China Sea where Beijing contends that India's exploratory drilling with Vietnam is a breach of its sovereignty. Should India be worried?

The 1962 defeat is still as fresh as yesterday. There is also the long-running border dispute over Arunachal Pradesh. Years of double-digit budget increases have modernised the People's Liberation Army. China is also building or buying sophisticated weaponry, including a homegrown J-20 stealth fighter jet and an aircraft carrier. What about India?

Outgoing army chief VK Singh has cautioned that the war-waging capability of the army has been hamstrung by long delays in procurement decisions. This contention is backed by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a leading authority on political-military conflict.

The challenge for India, says the UK-based think-tank, is the inability to fully disburse funds because of corruption, bureaucratic delays and inefficiencies in procurement. India does not suffer from a shortfall of funds. New Delhi is the world's leading arms purchaser. Its defence budget rose nearly 12% last year.

The recent contract to buy combat aircraft from France's Dassault Rafale is called "the mother of all deals". Yet, India will be playing catch-up with China for years to come. After this budget, due later this week, India's total military expenditure is expected to be still shy of $40 billion.

The IISS shared exclusively with ET on Sunday the latest data on how India compares with China in military prowess from its The Military Balance 2012 report released last week. The message from the statistics is clear, India has a long march ahead before it can rival China's military muscle.

How India Compares with China?

Can Corruption Cancer be abated in India?

No consensus on Lokpal Bill after all-party meet: 10 big facts: NDTV Report
New Delhi: Will India get the new anti-corruption law it has been waiting for? The Lokpal Bill - named for a national anti-graft agency that it creates - was passed by the Lok Sabha. But the Winter Session of the Rajya Sabha ended before the bill could be put to a vote. The Prime Minister called an all-party meeting today to build consensus before the bill is scheduled for discussion in the Rajya Sabha. The Left says the meeting ended without any consensus. Here are 10 facts on this big story:

1) What is the Lokpal? This is a national agency of nine members, who will be selected by a committee that includes the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. The Lokpal will investigate complaints of corruption against all government servants. A state-level branch of the Lokpal is called a Lokayukta.

2) Why did the PM call an all-party meeting today? In December, opposition parties moved close to 200 amendments on the Bill in the Rajya Sabha. They want many changes to the Bill. The ruling coalition is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha. In December, the debate on the bill proved that the government would not be able to get the bill passed. Opposition parties say the government therefore orchestrated chaos and delays so that the bill could not be put to a vote which it would have lost. At today's meeting at the PM's house, it was decided that the Lokpal Bill will be taken up during the second half of this Budget Session of Parliament. On March 30, Parliament breaks for three weeks and the union budget has to be passed before this financial year ends.

3) Before bringing the bill to the Rajya Sabha, the government will work on re-wording contentious parts of the Bill. The BJP, Left and parties like Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress all agree on the need for a Lokpal but have serious objections to the bill in its current form.

4) What do opposition parties want? There are many points of difference among the main parties on the Lokpal Bill. The biggest is whether the bill, in its current form, violates the federal structure of India. The bill asks for Lokayuktas or ombudsman agencies to be set up in every state to tackle cases of corruption. Parties like the BJP say this violates the autonomy of state governments. They say that the centre should provide an enabling framework that provides the guidelines for how the ombudsman should be selected and what its powers should be. But it cannot force states to create a Lokayukta.

5) How do allies feel about this? The ruling coalition, led by the Congress, has two senior allies - the DMK from Tamil Nadu and Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress from Bengal. Both are needed for the government's survival. Because both parties are regional, they have joined the BJP in objecting to the references to Lokayuktas, even in the title of the bill. Mamata Banerjee wants this part of the bill deleted completely. If the BJP pushes for a vote on this issue, the Trinamool and DMK will vote against the government they belong to. That means not just embarrassment for the Congress; the government will have been defeated on landmark legislation, allowing the opposition to point out that it does not have the right to stay in office.

6) What powers will the Lokpal have? This is a major argument among different parties. Those like the Left say that the Lokpal should supervise the CBI which will be assigned to investigate the complaints received by the ombudsman. The government says the CBI cannot be made accountable to the Lokpal because this would amount to creating an executive structure outside Parliament. The bill currently allows the Lokpal to refer complaints to the CBI, which will keep it updated on those cases. The BJP says the government's control over the CBI should be reduced. The rationale is that as long as the government decides the CBI's budget, and the postings and transfers of its officers, the agency is vulnerable to governmental influence.

7) Does everyone agree on the need for the Lokpal? Parties like the BJP have said they want the Lokpal to be introduced as quickly as possible. "I think they should present an amended bill in Parliament; they have got the message loud and clear," BJP leader Arun Jaitley told NDTV today. They blame the government for delaying the legislation in the Rajya Sabha. But others like the Samajwadi Party and Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD say a Lokpal as currently envisaged creates a new autocratic body. They want the Lokpal Bill to be studied and revised by a parliamentary committee.

8) The Anna Hazare factor: The fact that the Lokpal Bill was debated and passed in the Lower House or Lok Sabha was due almost entirely to the efforts of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare. With activist-aides like Arvind Kejriwal, he turned India's attention to this legislation through a series of hunger strikes. It was his 16-day fast in August last year that brought thousands of people in support every day to his camp at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan. Anna, who is 74, ended his fast after Parliament assured him that it would consider the Lokpal Bill urgently. However, Anna says the bill in its current form is pointless. In particular, his group feels that the Lokpal has no real authority and has been reduced to a "post office" where it will distribute complaints of corruption filed by the public to different officials or departments over whom it has no real control.

9) How the Lokpal will be selected is also contentious: The opposition says that the five-member selection committee for the ombudsman gives the government too much representation. That, they argue, will ensure the Lokpal goes soft on any investigation that the government does not favour.

10) The Prime Minister is covered by the Lokpal - he can be investigated while in office if approved by two-thirds of the Lokpal's nine members.
Read more at: Will India get a new anti- Corruption Bill

Cabinet Approves 7% DA Hike

Friday, March 23, 2012
In a good news for Central government employees, the government on Friday announced a seven per cent hike in the dearness allowance to compensate for the rise in prices of essential commodities. There will be an equal hike in dearness relief to pensioners.
The increased DA and DR will be applicable from January 1, 2012.
The hike approved by the Union Cabinet will take the DA from 58 to 65 per cent of the basic pay and pension.
The increase in DA and DR will cost the national exchequer Rs 7,474 crore annually, while for the remaining period of this fiscal and the next financial year, the implication would be Rs 8,720 crore.
The government had last effected a hike in DA and DR in September last year. The DA is revised every six months as it is linked with the consumer price index for industrial workers.
DA Hike Indian Express

Friday, March 23, 2012

OTA Passing Out Parade Mar 2012

Young Army officers wait in the wings
Published: Monday, Mar 19, 2012 on 14:25 IST

It turned out to be a Golden Saturday for Joginder Singh Badotra, a former colonel in the Indian Army and his wife, from Kangla district in Himachal Pradesh. Their son Himanshu Badotra, 24, was selected as the best all round cadet and was honoured with the President’s Sword of Honour during the passing out parade of the 284 young officers who successfully completed their 49 week gruesome training in the Officers Training Academy, Chennai. What made the day unique for the Badotras was that their daughter Niharika, a bio-informatics graduate, too passed out with Himanshu on Saturday, making it a golden double for the family.
Himanshu, a graduate in basic sciences, has been posted to 11 Sikh Ganganagar in Rajasthan where he will join hundreds of soldiers of the Indian Army in guarding the country’s borders using hi-tech gadgets and robots. “It’s a dream come true for me. I have never thought of any other profession than that of an Army officer,” a beaming Himanshu told DNA. “He will be the Golden Boy of the OTA since this year we are celebrating our Golden Jubilee year," said a senior OTA faculty.
Parents of all the 287 candidates, selected from all over the country, had made it to the OTA on Saturday to witness the elegant passing out parade where they were declared as commissioned officers of the Indian Army. This year saw 89 women candidates joining different wings of the Army. Niharika has been posted to Ordnance Jodhpur from where she will ensure the prompt dispatch and delivery of crucial components needed by units in the forward areas.
The Batras are not the only family who have sent their children to the armed forces. Prateek Sharma, 25, a zoology graduate of Ghaziabad, is a third generation officer from a family of soldiers. “My father Vijay Kumar Sharma retired as a major from the Indian Army. My elder brother Sourabh is a serving major,” said a beaming Prateek after the pipping ceremony when his father himself decorated him with the two-stars which made him a lieutenant in the Army.
DNA Photo slideshow- Click here
Express Buzz Slideshow- Click here

Alcoholic Ex Servicemen kills his wife

Retired army officer missing after allegedly killing wife
How did the 'clerk' become an 'officer'! Was he an SL commission officer?
Mumbai: In a shocking incident in surburban Mumbai, a retired army officer, Mahipal Singh, killed his wife at their residence in Kalina Military Camp.

Click here to read more

Man used skills taught in army to strangle wife
By: Saurabh Vaktania Date: 2012-03-16 Place: Mumbai

Autopsy reports state former army man Mahipal Singh choked his spouse by applying pressure with his thumbs -- one of the most basic lessons taught in training
AN army officer who is suspected to have killed his wife and is on the run used the oldest self-defence tactic to murder his spouse, autopsy reports reveal. According to the police, the accused Mahipal Singh choked his wife Anju's throat by applying pressure with his thumbs.
On the lookout: Cops have been combing the local bars in the area as Mahipal Singh is an alcoholic, and is likely to haunt such places.
Authorities say it is the oldest technique in self-defence training and is one of the basic lessons taught during army training. "We have found a thumb impression of the accused on the deceased's throat. It is clear that Singh choked the victim," said an officer from Vakola police station.
On Tuesday evening, army officials from the military camp in Kalina called up the Vakola police to inform them that Anju Kanwar (35), wife of a defence security personnel Singh (40), was found dead at the residential quarters in the campus.
Their 9-year-old son found Anju's body at 6 pm after he returned home from school. The post-mortem report states that the time of death was 2 pm.
The Vakola police have formed a special team to track down Singh. Officials from the Crime Branch and Special squad (west region) are also on the lookout for Singh. One of the officers told MiD DAY that they were looking at all bars around the area, as Singh is a drunkard. Investigators suspect that Singh has fled to Goa.
Meanwhile, Anju's family members arrived from Rajasthan and have taken custody of the body following the post mortem and are also caring for the young son.
A Mid Day Report

Readers responses
  • Haridas Mandal (13:15:56): And still army issues cheap liquors from it’s 4500 Unit Run Canteens just to earn 1000 crore a year to celebrate 365 days a year in the name of Raising Days, Founder’s dayS, Kargil Days, Bangladesh war days etc etc and end up making its officers as well as jawans permanently addicted to liquors. Will some body from the Medical Council of India will stand up and comment on the very efficacy of issuing freely available cheap liquors to serving troops, to the ex-serving troops and even to their equally addicted widows?

  • I cannot but agree on this point. I wish all serving/ retired officers take up this point from here. Military service has converted a large percentage of raw recruits to Alcaholics simply through easy and cheap availability of liquor. A few who do not drink, got into the habit of selling their quota to Civilians for a profit. This is true of even very senior officers! Corruption begins right here! What is the logic of a widow of an ESM/ ESO drawing liquor from Canteens? An excellent point to ponder!
  • Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Adarsh scam: CBI arrests Maharashtra Finance Secretary Pradeep Vyas

    Updated Mar 21, 2012 at 09:37pm IST
    Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday arrested IAS officer Pradeep Vyas in Mumbai in connection with the Adarsh housing society scam. Vyas is currently posted as the Finance Secretary of Maharashtra and is also a former collector on Mumbai.
    This takes the number of arrests in connection with the housing society scam to seven.
    The arrest has come a day after the CBI held three former government employees – Defence Estate Officer R C Thakur, Brigadier (retd) M M Wanchoo and former deputy secretary in Maharashtra Urban Development Department, P V Deshmukh – on Tuesday.
    Thakur, Wanchoo and Deshmukh were on Wednesday remanded to the CBI custody till March 31.
    Their arrests followed a censure by the Bombay High Court of CBI for not taking action against those who were allegedly involved in the scam.
    The accused have been arrested under the provisions of IPC, Prevention of Corruption Act and Benami Transactions Prohibition Act, said CBI special prosecutor Ejaz Khan. (With Additional Inputs from PTI)
    Adarsh scam: CBI arrests Maharashtra Finance Secretary Pradeep Vyas
    Related News
    Ahead of hearing of the case in the Bombay High Court on Thursday, CBI arrested two former Major Generals of the Army in connection with the multi-crore rupee Adarsh Housing Society scam
    2 former Army officers held in connection with Adarsh scam

    Always standing tall, Field Marshal Manekshaw

    Indian Express Pune, Wed Oct 28 2009, 03:37 hrs

    On Infantry Day on Tuesday Pune got a monument in honour of Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw, near the Southern Command headquarters, which was inaugurated in the morning by Lt Gen Pradeep Khanna, Army Commander and General-Officer-Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command.
    “I was commissioned in the Army when he was the general,” said Khanna reminiscing about Manekshaw who was popular as ‘Sam Bahadur.’ “He was a man of honour; the best of the kind,” Khanna said.
    Field Marshal Manekshaw died in June 27, 2008.
    Infantry Day is observed to mark the day Indian soldiers landed in Srinagar on October 27, 1947 to defend the city against Pakistan. The Southern Command thus chose Tuesday to unveil the statue of Manekshaw.
    Khanna, who had met Manekshaw in 2007 when the latter was in hospital, said the Field Marshal had a fantastic sense of humour. “He could keep us in fits of laughter. With him you were kept laughing all the time, even if he didn’t know a person too well,” he said. “His smile was enduring. This is the first official monument of a soldier anywhere in the country,” he said.
    The nine-foot bronze statue, weighing 700 kgs, was made in eight months. “The statue has light eyes, just like Manekshaw had, the effect will be visible at night,” Khanna said.
    The statue was made by sculptor Abhijit Dhondphale who had earlier made a plaque of the late Gen Vaidya for the Southern Command.
    “For two months during the preparation of the clay model, we read books on Manekshaw and spoke to soldiers who had worked with him to learn as much as possible about him,” said Dhondphale. “We wanted to capture the personality of the man. We have tried to bring life to the statue, as much as possible,” said Cyrus Dalal, who conceptualised the Rs 20-lakh project along with Dhondphale.
    Several members of the Zoroastrian community were also present. “We feel proud, always used to respect him a lot. We owe it to him,” said head Priest Jehangir Daruwala, who was part of a small group of Zoroastrians at the ceremonial unveiling of the statue.
    Earlier, Chief of Staff of the Southern Command Lt Gen R K Swamy laid a wreath at the National War Memorial to mark Infantry Day.
    Always standing tall, Field Marshal Manekshaw


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