Tuesday, September 22, 2009

6th Pay Commission Demystified...(REPEAT POST)

Comparison Table
Dear Readers,

1. I ve tabulated the pay package for our Armed Forces spl for JCO's/NCO's/OR's along with the pay scales of civilian Gp B/C staff.

2. My conclusion based on the above exercise is as follows:

a) For officers the rank pay was not included while fixing their grade pays and also a wrong equivalence with IPS officers was shown on page 73-75 of 6th CPC.

b) It can be clearly seen that the pay commission revised almost every civilian's previous pay before granting them a fresh pay scale and grade pay under 6th CPC.

c) Unfortunately for Soldiers no such apparent restructuring of 5th CPC scale was carried out before granting them fresh pay scales under 6th CPC.

d) The PB-1 for railways starts from 5200-20200 whereas for Armed Forces its 4860-20200. Similarly PB-2 for railways starts from 9300-34800 wheras for Armed Forces it starts from 8700-34800.Therefore a loss of Rs.340+DA in PB-1 and a loss of Rs.600+DA in PB-2 is there for Armed Forces over and above the loss due to lack of restructuring of pay scales unlike civilian counterparts before fixing the 6th CPC scales.

e) The pay scale of Skilled Gp C and a Havildar (NCO) Soldier from Z Group are comparable and a Sepoy ( a trained soldier ) is considered equal to a semi skilled Gp C employee.

f) Even the ACP for ORs needs a relook in terms of time period as the minimum serving period could be as less as just 15 yrs for them.

3. Perhaps we need to restructure the entire pay structure of Armed Forces even before we go into the next pay commission. As the fact remains that even if we ve a separate pay commission, it will still go to the govt of the day for acceptance and approval. 

4. Incase I ve missed out or miss typed any information or wrongly concluded any information, your are requested to kindly correct me. Your valuable suggestion are most welcome.


Hardcore Soldier

Some References:

Swine flu likely to kill millions, warns UN

Thiruvananthapuram, Sept. 21: The United Nations has warned that swine flu could kill millions of people in third world countries such as India unless rich nations bail them out by handing out around $1,400 million, according to a media report.
The warning has been issued by the UN as swine flu deaths touched 247 in India with seven more people dying on Monday.
The UN report prepared under the directions of the secretary general, Mr Ban Ki Moon, paints a bleak and alarming scenario for 75 vulnerable countries including several Latin American, Asian and African countries such as Cuba, Bolivia, North Korea, Bangladesh and Congo.
Of the projected $1,400 million, a major chunk should be allocated antiviral drugs and vaccines to the people as well as to health officials taking care of them. The rest is meant for vaccination camps and to improve testing facilities for the H1N1 virus.
However, officials of the World Health Organisation have expressed doubts on whether the rich countries would open their coffers for the poor in times of recession. The US has offered to provide 10 per cent of its swine flu vaccines to other countries to fight the virus and Britain has volunteered to donate $37 million. But the WHO believes that this is woefully inadequate.
According to the report, countries which were grappling with other health crises caused by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria will be hit hardest by the H1N1 virus. They will face real trouble if a second wave of virus attacks occurred.
The report warned governments to strengthen their food, water, telecommunications and transport services to prepare for the worst.
Some health experts felt that the UN was exaggerating the scenario for its own reasons.
“It is all humbug,” said Dr C.R. Soman, a well known public health expert and former professor at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. “As far as I know, swine flu is only a mildly lethal infection which can be tackled through a common sense approach. It is not even as virulent as its cousin, the influenza. I think these reports are meant to scare people and create a market for drugs,” she added.

IIT profs to fast Thurs, set 10-day ultimatum

New Delhi/Kolkata
Sept. 21: Around 1,500 teachers of 13 IITs said on Monday they would go on hungerstrike Thursday to protest against pay anomalies. The IIT Faculty Federation, meting at Kharagpur, said there will be no boycott of classes, which would be on schedule.
The federation also issued a 10-day ultimatum to the government to resolve the issue.
"We wanted an amicable solution, which did not happen. We are compelled to go on hungerstrike on Thursday. We want the government to sort out the issue by October 1," Prof M. Thenmozhi, the federation’s president, said after Monday’s meeting.

New funds curbs on babus’ study abroad

Sept. 21: In a bid to curb the tendency of Indian babudom to enlist private financiers to fund study tours abroad, the government has issued fresh guidelines directing them not to negotiate with such entities without prior approval from the authorities. This is an additional impediment in the way of members of all-India and central services heading overseas for specialised higher studies.
An order by the department of personnel and training (DoPT), a copy of which is with this newspaper, states a few cases have "come to notice wherein members of all-India services have negotiated and taken financial assistance from private bodies and other domestic organisations", not usually known to sponsor study programmes, to fund their pursuits without the previous knowledge of the government. This, in a way, violates the All-India Services (Conduct) Rules and the All-India Services (Study Leave) Regulations and Instructions, the order said, adding that in most cases the fact of negotiating with these organisations had been "concealed" while applying for leave.
The new guidelines make it mandatory for aspirants to furnish the government "clear information on expenditure (including travel, hospitality etc.), sources of funding and details of agencies from where they intend to source money."
Making the process more stringent, the office order stipulates: "No member of the services shall negotiate for financial assistance from any institution (other than the one under which he/she intends and is permitted to pursue study) without the prior approval of the government. Violation ... will make the (officer) ... liable for disciplinary action."

An opaque judiciary

A Surya Prakash

The ugly controversy that has erupted over the proposed elevation of Chief Justice PD Dinakaran of the Karnataka High Court to the Supreme Court is illustrative of the wide-ranging dissatisfaction across institutions and professions over the present system of appointment of members of the higher judiciary. It is indeed rare to see so many Bar Associations (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and the Supreme Court) raise their voice against an appointment and to press for a system of selection of judges that is transparent and fair. 

The frustration that is visible in the reactions of lawyers via these fora is understandable given the inaction in judicial and executive quarters even to the weighty opinions of important national commissions, standing committees of Parliament, eminent jurists and professional bodies, all of whom have been pleading for a more broad-based system to select judges. 

While under the law as it exists today, it is entirely up to the collegium of judges to take a call on the allegations levelled against this particular judge, the hullabaloo over Justice Dinakaran’s elevation only highlights the inadequacy of the procedure that is in vogue ever since the Supreme Court accorded primacy to the opinion of the Chief Justice of India and the collegium of judges in choosing members of the higher judiciary. 

The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, which was headed by former Chief Justice of India MN Venkatachalaiah, declared in 2002 that it was not satisfied with the present arrangement in regard to judicial appointments in which the opinion of the collegium of Supreme Court judges would have primacy over the opinions of others, including that of the President. It called for a more participatory mode which would ensure effective participation of both the executive and the judiciary. It noted that on a plain reading of Article 124 of the Constitution, the power of appointment of judges vests in the President and the President is expected to perform this function “after” consultation and not “in” consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

The Commission recalled how the law in regard to judicial appointments had undergone change over the years. For example, Article 217(1) of the Constitution requires the President to consult the Chief Justice of India, the Governor and the Chief Justice of the High Court while appointing judges to the High Courts. In SP Gupta’s case (First Judges Case), the question arose as to whether among the three judges to be consulted, the Chief Justice of India had primacy. The court said that Article 217(1) placed all the three functionaries on the same pedestal.

In the Second Judges Case (1993), the court said the Chief Justice of India must take into account the opinion of two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court to ensure that the opinion is not merely his individual opinion but is in fact “the collective opinion of the body of men at the apex level in the judiciary”. Also, the opinion of the Chief Justice of India so formed “should be determinative and almost binding on the President”. The court favoured an “integrated participatory consultative process” for selecting the best and most suitable persons available for appointment. However, in case of a disagreement between the President and the Chief Justice of India, “the opinion of the latter must prevail”. Later in 1998, the court described the collegium as the Chief Justice of India and four senior-most judges when this issue came up yet again via a presidential reference under Article 143. 

The NCRWC felt that the post-1993 arrangement for appointment of judges needed improvement. It said that a National Judicial Commission headed by the Chief Justice of India and comprising two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, the Union Law Minister and an eminent person nominated by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India should select judges. The NCRWC said, “It would be worthwhile to have a participatory mode with the participation of both the executive and the judiciary in making such recommendations.” In other words, it wanted the consultative process to be more broad-based. 

Parliament has been exercised over the complete monopoly of the judiciary in regard to appointment of judges ever since the Second Judges Case. In 2006, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice expressed its dissatisfaction with the procedure adopted since 1993. It urged the Government to come up with an alternative mechanism which would ensure the involvement of both the executive and the judiciary in the process of selecting judges.

More recently, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission has come out strongly in favour of a National Judicial Council to select judges. Though the Second ARC differed from the MN Venkatachalaiah Commission on the composition of this body, the central theme remained the same. It said the NJC should be headed by the Vice-President and comprise the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India, the Union Law Minister and the Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. It said the appointment of judges should be a bipartisan process above day-to-day politics. 

However, all these suggestions and the unanimous opinion against the present system of appointment of judges have just not been acted upon. Apart from the commission headed by Mr Venkatachalaiah, committees of Parliament, the Administrative Reforms Commission, the Forum for Judicial Accountability, eminent jurists and legal luminaries like Mr Shanti Bhushan, Mr Fali Nariman and Mr Ram Jethmalani, and Bar Associations are seeking a more transparent and credible system to appoint judges.

The judiciary, however, seems unwilling to shed its insular approach to judicial appointments and the executive appears to lack the moral courage to make law on the lines suggested by Mr Venkatachalaiah and others to overcome the limitations imposed by the Supreme Court in the Second Judges Case. By resisting change, the higher judiciary is giving the impression that it is still not ready to apply the principles of transparency and accountability which it enforces in other organs of the state. If this impasse continues, we can be certain that the current rumpus over a judge’s elevation to the Supreme Court will not be the last. Over to the Chief Justice of India.

U.S. sees rising Indian influence in Afghanistan as problem

Siddharth Varadarajan

McChrystal report says Pakistan likely to take ‘countermeasures’ against Delhi, Kabul

General McChrystal says the situation is “serious” and “deteriorating”
Report emphasises need for a change
in U.S. strategy

New Delhi: In the clearest statement to date of Washington’s reservations about the rising Indian economic and political profile in Afghanistan, the top American general in charge of the war against the Taliban and other insurgents there has said India’s increasing influence in the insurgency-wracked country “is likely to exacerbate regional tensions.”
In his ‘Commander’s Initial Assessment’ on the war in Afghanistan dated August 30, made public on Sunday, General Stanley A. McChrystal said the situation there is “serious” and “deteriorating.” Though a significant section of his report emphasises the need for a change in U.S. strategy and the way U.S. forces deployed there “think and operate,” the section on “external influences” is likely to grate on New Delhi’s ears because of its implication that India ought to scale back its presence in order to placate Pakistani fears about growing Indian influence.
“Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant development efforts and financial investment. In addition, the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian,” the McChrystal report notes. But it adds: “While Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India.”
India has extended more than $1 billion to Afghanistan in financial and development assistance and is training the Afghan police force and bureaucracy. In recent years, it has been asked by key European countries like Britain and France to step up its assistance even as the U.S. has warned of a negative reaction by Pakistan.
The coy phrase ‘countermeasures’ in the McChrystal report is clearly a reference to Pakistan stepping up its funding of anti-Indian and anti-Afghan (and thus anti-U.S.) insurgent groups and terrorists. However, in its section on Pakistan, the report only says that insurgent and violent extremist groups based in that country “are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan’s ISI,” an assessment far less categorical than what U.S. officials and military commanders have said before in public and private. The report zeroes in on Al-Qaeda’s links to the Haqqani network (HQN) inside Pakistan and says “expanded HQN control could create a favourable environment for AQAM to re-establish safe havens in Afghanistan.”
The HQN is believed to be behind the bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul in 2007 and the recent assassination of Afghanistan’s deputy chief of intelligence, Abdullah Laghmani, and is widely suspected of enjoying the patronage of the ISI.
Though the McChrystal report falls short of prescribing that India scale back its presence in Afghanistan, the implication is clear: the U.S. is dependent on Pakistani support for the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s capacity to use extremists to hurt American interests remains high, and that India should realise its assistance to Afghanistan might provoke Islamabad into taking “countermeasures.”
Gen. McChrystal calls for additional U.S. forces but says “focussing on force or resource requirements misses the point entirely … Success is achievable, but it will not be attained simply by trying harder or ‘doubling down’ on the previous strategy.”
In line with the Pentagon’s view of the damage that mounting civilian casualties have had on the image of the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, the McChrystal report squarely admits that “pre-occupied with protection of our own forces, we have operated in a manner that distances us — physically and psychologically — from the people we seek to protect. In addition, we run the risk of strategic defeat by pursuing tactical wins that cause civilian casualties or unnecessary collateral damage. The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily; but we can defeat ourselves.”

‘Naked’ India needs a series of tests to deal with China, says Santhanam

K. Santhanam

NEW DELHI: The scientist who is at the forefront of the ongoing controversy over alleged failure of India’s 1998 thermonuclear test said on Monday that the country needs a “series of thermonuclear bomb tests” in order to be able to “protect the nation’s security” from China.
“We are totally naked vis-À-vis China which has an inventory of 200 nuclear bombs, the vast majority of which are giant H-bombs of power equal to 3 million tonnes of TNT,” a note circulated by K. Santhanam, former Chief Adviser (Technologies) of the Defence Research Development Organisation, at a press conference addressed by him said.
Mr. Santhanam reiterated his earlier claim that the thermonuclear device had been a failure, “totally incapable of weaponisation,” and urged the government to lift the unilateral voluntary moratorium on testing announced in May 1998.
The scientist, who represented the DRDO at the Pokhran-II tests, disputed National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan’s recent contention that he (Santhanam) had no idea of what he was talking about and did not have access to all the data. The NSA, he said, “is barking up the wrong tree.”
Mr. Santhanam pointed to China’s stockpile of nuclear weapons and asked whether India would prefer using the 3,500-km Agni-III missile with a 25-kiloton fission warhead as the core of its credible minimum deterrence, instead of mounting a larger warhead.
As to what prompted him to raise the issue 11 years down the line, Mr. Santhanam said interpreting the test results took time but he had given a confidential report to the government towards the end of 1998.
He said the government could consider setting up a panel of independent and eminent retired scientists to evaluate the 1998 test data and prepare a confidential report.
Asked whether he had factored in the international consequences of India testing afresh, Mr. Santhanam said it was for the government to weigh the political, economic and strategic costs. The “pain of testing” was unlikely to be as severe as it was being made out. “In any case, it [testing] was better than our current situation of dar dar ke marna (dying out of fear),” he said.

Centre warns of terror strikes during Puja

Marcus Dam

KOLKATA: The Centre has warned of the possibility of terrorists planning a strike in which car bombs could be used during the forthcoming Durga Puja festival. The Railways have been alerted.
“We will have to be cautious to ensure that there is no untoward incident during the Durga Puja period,” West Bengal Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty said here on Monday.
The threat could come not only from bombs concealed in a car but also in bags and there is a need to be on the alert, he added.
The Railways are taking all precautionary and preventive measures to ensure security during the festival period, Additional Director-General of Police (Railways) Dilip Mitra told The Hindu.
Security is being tightened at major railway installations and stations and a special vigil will be maintained in trains, a senior railway official said.
“There is a general alert during Durga Puja against such a possibility,” said Chief Security Commissioner, Eastern Railway, B. Mohan.

Army holds war games to secure coast

To counter terror threats in the backdrop of the Mumbai attacks, top army generals have evolved detailed plans to secure the country's coastline from Gujarat to Orissa and refine the force's amphibious warfare tactics.
The strategies were fine-tuned by top brass, including Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, during a two-day table-top war game in Pune last week, army sources here said today.
Plans for the Southern Command to protect the coastline from both conventional and asymmetric threats were discussed threadbare, they said.
The war game was a closed-door conceptual exercise conducted by top commanders with the help of sand models and large-scale maps, which do not involve troops on the ground.
The Pune drill follows a similar exercise by the Kolkata-based Eastern Command a fortnight back for area in the North-eastern states along the borders with China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, apart from its counter-insurgency operations.
During May this year, some formations under the Western Command had carried out annual field exercises in Punjab plains to validate operational concepts and test their equipment.
Later, in June, the Western Command's top brass conducted a war game at its headquarters in Chandimandir near Chandigarh concentrating on the Pakistani border along Jammu and Punjab, apart from counter-insurgency strategies in Jammu region.
For quite some time now, the Army's emphasis has been on table-top war games rather than field exercises due to constraints of space and expenses involved.
The field exercises usually take place in Punjab plains between the harvest seasons and in the Pokhran firing ranges in Rajasthan desert.
"Earlier, villagers in Punjab were willing to give their agriculture land for the army exercises between harvest seasons. They used to do it enthusiastically. But, of late, the trend has changed leading to space crunch for these large scale exercises. The money spent on mobilisation and the exercise too is large," an Army officer said explaining the need for such games.
"Moreover, during the table-top war game, 10 or more war scenarios and the responses to them from troops and commanders can be worked out within a matter of hours. But during a field exercise, only a couple of scenarios can be worked out," they said.
War games are held at all Command levels every year to review existing operational plans keeping in view recent on-ground developments. It also helps expose new commanders to offensive and defensive strategies pertaining to a particular operational theatre.
Army sources said besides top commanders from respective commands and their field formations, senior representatives from Army headquarters and the Training Command usually attend the brainstorming session.
Since the turn of the century, the Army has been focusing on fighting a high-intensity, short-duration war in a built-up urban and semi-urban environment, mainly by a division-sized offensive formation.
Fundamental to this 'Cold Start' doctrine is a networked environment enabling real time flow of intelligence, data and information, as well as rapid troop mobilisation and deployment of devastating firepower across the entire spectrum of conflict, the sources added. — PTI ( THE TRIBUNE)

Army Special Forces scout for new pistol

After reequipping its Special Forces units and parachute battalions with the new generation Israeli automatic assault rifles, the Indian army is now looking for contemporary semiautomatic pistols to replace their antiquated 9 mm handguns. It wants a robust weapon that is lightweight and is easy to carry and operate, and has asked arms vendors for details on the latest pistols for its Special Forces units.
Since the new weapons are to be used by commandos, additional features being sought are the option of fixing on a laser ranger and aiming device and a high intensity flashlight for operations in the dark or dimly lit areas. Flashlights, besides illuminating the area ahead of the shooter, also serve the dual purpose of blinding the opponent.
Though the Special Forces units have access to a wide variety of weapons, the standard issue handgun is the 9 mm pistol produced by the Ordnance Factories.
The Swiss SIG-Sauer, Austrian Glock, German Walther and Italian Beretta are among the firms known for contemporary pistol designs that are favoured by major special forces units around the world.
Over the past two years the Special Forces have adapted the Israeli Tavor 21 as its standard assault rifle. The army had procured about 3,000 such rifles to replace the earlier mix of AK-47, M-16s and INSAS rifles. (THE TRIBUNE)

Facing the Chinese threat, AN-32 in Nyoma and Fast interceptor boats in Pangong

In a significant move by the Indian Air Force, an AN-32 aircraft landed at Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Eastern Ladakh at 0625 hrs today. Group Captain SC Chafekar touched down on the Nyoma airstrip located at an altitude of 13,300 feet with Air Marshal NAK Browne, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command and Lieutenant General PC Bharadwaj, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command on board.

Though helicopters have been landing at this ALG, this is for the first time that a fixed wing aircraft has landed at the compacted airstrip of Nyoma, located 23 kms from the LAC.

After deliberating on all aspects and carrying out aerial and ground reccees, it was concluded that Nyoma could be developed for fixed wing operations as well. The herculean task of developing the ALG to the standards required for fixed wing operations was undertaken by the Engineer Regiments of 14 Corps. The successful landing of a fixed wing aircraft at Nyoma marks the culmination of joint effort by the IAF and Indian Army to enable the IAF to operate in the inhospitable terrain of Leh-Ladakh region in support of the Army.

Joint development of Nyoma braving the extremely difficult working conditions and hostile weather is yet another step towards enhanced jointmanship between the two services. Nyoma has been developed with an aim to connect the remote areas of Ladakh region to the mainland. This would also ensure that movements in the area continue when the road traffic gets affected, during the harsh winters besides enabling improved communication network in the region, facilitating economical ferrying of supplies as well as promotion of tourism to the general area.

The landing comes just fifteen months after an AN-32 landed at Daulat-Beg-Oldie (DBO), the highest airfield in the world situated at an altitude of 16,200 feet.

See also Business Standard: On Equal tems with China in Pangong

And while we are on this topic, Indian people always believed that the 1962 war with China was Chinese aggression but it is increasingly becoming clear that India was the one who had a misguided forward policy that led to us getting a thrashing. Some information in this ToI article "How the powers that be bungled the 1962 war" (PIB)

Amazing Mule

Made-in-India 'INS Shivalik' to be inducted soon

NEW DELHI: Soon, very soon, India will add another lethal punch to its growing ‘‘blue-water’’ warfare capabilities by inducting an indigenously-designed and manufactured ‘‘stealth’’ frigate. 

The 5,300-tonne frigate, INS Shivalik, armed with a deadly mix of foreign and indigenous weapon and sensor systems, is currently undergoing ‘‘advanced’’ pre-commissioning sea trials.

Interestingly, apart from Russian Shtil surface-to-air missile systems, Klub anti-ship cruise missiles and other weapons, the multi-role frigate is also armed with the Israeli ‘Barak-I’ anti-missile defence system. Already fitted on 11 frontline warships like aircraft carrier INS Viraat and destroyer INS Mysore, the 10-km range Barak-I can intercept incoming Harpoon and Exocet missiles, launched from platforms like P-3C Orion aircraft and Agosta-90B submarines which Pakistan has acquired from US and France.

‘‘INS Shivalik is the first stealth frigate to be designed and built in India. It’s a matter of great pride for the country. It should be ready to enter service in Navy in November,’’ said director-general of naval design, Rear Admiral M K Badhwar. The Project-17 to construct three stealth frigates — the other two, INS Satpura and INS Sahyadri, will be delivered in 2010-2011 — at a cost of Rs 8,101 crore at Mazagon Docks has, of course, been plagued by delays ever since it was approved by the government in 1997.

But now, with the programme on the verge of completion, the defence ministry has approved Project-17A to construct seven more frigates, with even more stealth features, for around Rs 45,000 crore. Navy initially wanted two of the seven new frigates to be built abroad to avoid time overruns. But MoD shot down the proposal, holding that four will be built at Mazagon Docks in Mumbai and the other three at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers at Kolkata, said sources.

Navy currently has 34 warships and six submarines on order to ensure its force-levels do not dip below the existing 140 or so warships. The new inductions will help Navy strengthen its role as a ‘‘potent maritime force’’ and ‘‘stabilising influence’’ in the Indian Ocean, capable of ‘‘destruction of enemy’’ and deterrence as well as ‘‘coercive’’ and ‘‘peace’’ diplomacy.

The stealth features incorporated in the Shivalik-class frigates, including inclined surfaces, will considerably reduce their radar cross-section. To reduce the noise signature, the designers have gone in for low-noise propellers, propulsion devices and machinery, as also ‘‘vibration damping’’.

Territorial Army to raise, deploy all-women wing in northeast, J&K

RAJOURI: The Territorial Army, a reserve force of trained civilians for the Indian Army, proposes to raise two all-women battalions, and deploy one each in insurgency-hit areas of northeast and Jammu and Kashmir.

The project has the defence ministry's nod and is being given a final shape, sources said. At present, women can only join as doctors and nurses in the Territorial Army, which has a strength of 40,000.

The decision to deploy these battalions, around 300-women force, in counter-insurgency areas has been taken in view of an increasing number of women in militancy operations and to help deflect any kind of allegations of sexual abuse of local women by male soldiers, Rajouri-based spokesperson for TA unit of 38 Rashtriya Rifles said.

These battalions would primarily be used to investigate and interrogate women militants and female residents during counter-insurgency operations. They would also be deployed at the gates of fencing near the Line of Control for checking the movement of local residents, especially women.

There are incidents when a lot of hue and cry is raised and allegations of human rights violations levelled against officers carrying out search operations in insurgency-hit villages, the officer added. There have been instances when suspected women militants have managed to escape when such ruckus is kicked up, the spokesman said.

With the deployment of women battalion, we would not only be able to curb militancy but our operational procedure would also become more transparent. The necessity to set up all-women TA battalion was felt when the security agencies observed that terror outfits were using women against them, he said. They have clear instructions from their mentors that once across the border, they are to rely heavily on women ground workers to hit out at security officials involved in counter-insurgency operations, he added. Many women have been arrested in the past, who worked as couriers and overground workers of militants.

The Territorial Army is a voluntary, part-time Citizens Army, consisting of people who are not professional soldiers but civilians eager to do their bit for the country's defence. It acts as a reserve for the regular Army in times of need and draws men from the 18-42 age group.

On joining the TA, officers have to undergo mandatory training of arms handling and crisis management. In Jammu and Kashmir, the Army guards around 740 km of Line of Control (LoC) and the Border Security Force (BSF) 216km of international border. The BSF has now inducted women battalions and deployed them along the border.

Pak troops fire on Indian positions, no casualties

Jammu, Sep 21 (PTI) In yet another violation of the ceasefire, Pakistani troops fired nearly 135 rounds on Indian positions in Poonch district (in India's northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir) Sunday night, but there were no casualties.

Pakistani troops fired intermittenly from nine of their posts on Indian forward positions in Mendhar and Krishanghati from 1955 to 2020 hrs IST, Brigadier General (Staff), 16 Corps, Gurdeep Singh Puri said.

"There were no casualties," he said adding Indian troops did not retaliate.

"Nearly 15 rounds were fired from each Pakistani post on Manji Takri and Sabri Gali forward posts," the Brigadier said adding "we will lodge a strong protest soon".

He said this was second ceasefire violation by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) this month.

India lacks deterrence: Santhanam

NEW DELHI: Countering National Security Advisor M K Narayanan’s remarks on the Pokhran-II tests, former DRDO scientist K Santhanam on Monday said that he hoped for at least two more nuclear tests as the country was yet to acquire minimum deterrence.

Continuing to raise questions on the efficacy of the 1998 hydrogen bomb test, Mr Santhanam called for the setting up of an independent panel to probe the results of Pokhran II and maintained that there was a need to reopen the debate on nuclear testing.

The claims and demand by a senior scientist comes at a time when India is expected to come under increased pressure to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Both these treaties would legally bind India from testing a nuclear weapon. But a section of the scientific community believes that India still lacks minimum deterrence against China and that there is a need to carry out further nuclear tests.

The DRDO scientist, who was one of the four key scientists associated with Pokhran-II, had earlier called the May 11, 1998, tests a ‘fizzle’ and had warned against signing CTBT. On Monday, Mr Santhanam took this argument forward and said that there was a need to reanalyse the test data. “The trouble lies in what data was included in the BARC analysis and what was not. There is a wealth of seismic and other data, which reveal that the thermonuclear device underperformed,” Mr Santhanam said countering Mr Narayanan’s contention that nobody could contest the proven data of the Pokhran tests. “There is a large body of evidence in seismology circles around the world and India, which raised doubts about the yield, immediately after the test,” he added.

At the same time, Mr Santhanam also slammed Mr Narayanan for calling his claims ‘horrific’ and questioning his credibility. He said the national security advisor was “barking up the wrong tree” by contending he was not privy to test measurements and information and suggested that Mr Narayanan had given “misleading” statement over 1998 explosions as he was not NSA at that time. The National Security Advisor had asserted that India had thermonuclear capabilities and it has been verified by a peer group of researchers.

According to Mr Santhanam, the hydrogen bomb test, which was the second and most powerful of the three tests conducted on May 11, 1998, did not produce the desired yield. Saying that the H-bomb did not explode with its designed power equivalent of 25,000 tonnes of TNT, he claimed that the physical evidence at the site was also another proof of the failure of the thermo-nuclear device.

Mr Santhanam opined that the Atomic Energy Commission and BARC could not be ‘judge and jury’ on the claims of the thermo-nuclear yield. “There is a strong and clear need to form a group of stalwarts and give them access to all relevant data. Only then will credibility increase,” he said. On why it took him 11 years to raise the Pokhran issue, he said he had already told the government about the failure of the test in 50-page classified report submitted in 1998.

Mr Santhanam’s arguments were bolstered by Ashok Parthasarthi, former S&T adviser to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who contended that the country needed to debate the nuclear testing issue in the same manner the Sharm-el-Sheikh Indo-Pak joint statement was debated.

But he acknowledged that the decision to conduct nuclear tests had to be taken by the government of the day. “It is up to the government of the day to factor in the political and diplomatic inputs and take a decision. When Agni-III becomes operational, will you send it with a 20 kilotonne fission bomb?”

IIT hunger strike over ‘sham’ pay regime

Sept. 21: IIT faculty have issued a 10-day ultimatum to the human resource development ministry to resolve a protracted pay dispute, deciding to go on a token hunger strike on September 24.
The IITs have also demanded that the ministry revoke a new recruitment rule that they fear could rob them of bright professors from foreign institutions and research laboratories.
This new rule for the first time bars the IITs and the IIMs from hiring professors who have not earlier taught for at least four years as associate professors — a rung below — at a select band of Indian institutions.
The new rule effectively means that even a Nobel laureate is ineligible to teach as a professor at the IITs and IIMs unless he taught at these select institutes earlier.
At a meeting on the Salt Lake campus of IIT Kharagpur today, heads of faculty associations of all the IITs formulated a strategy to challenge a revised pay regime that they allege glosses over most of their concerns over an earlier notification.
The IIT faculty will tomorrow submit a fresh charter of demands — consisting of earlier demands and scrapping the new recruitment rule — to the ministry.
“The revised pay notification is a sham. We want it amended and the new recruitment rule scrapped. It (the new rule) takes away the autonomy we enjoy while hiring faculty,” M. Thenmozhi, the president of the All India IIT Faculty Federation, said after the meeting.
The faculty of all the IITs demand that the ministry resolve the crisis within the next 10 days — by October 1. A fresh wave of protests is possible if the ministry does not meet this deadline, some senior teachers suggested.
“We want the minister to meet us along with the directors of all the IITs by October 1 to discuss our demands,” said Thenmozhi.
On September 24, the faculty at all the IITs will hold classes and pursue other academic responsibilities but will go on a hunger strike as a token of protest.
“We will observe a day’s hunger strike on Thursday across all the seven campuses…. Though we will be on strike, we will perform all our academic responsibilities,” Thenmozhi said.
The tussle over pay began after the ministry in a pay notification on April 18 snipped proposed new salaries for faculty at these institutions. Faculty at the IITs and the IIMs submitted detailed charters of demands to the ministry.
The demands included a hike in salaries of assistant professors, a raise for freshly joining faculty and a scholastic pay to compensate for their years spent pursuing education after their graduation instead of joining the workforce.
The faculty also demanded that a cap the ministry had placed on the number of professors eligible for a higher salary be removed.
The ministry in a revised pay notification on September 16 raised salaries for assistant professors but did not meet any of the other demands made by the IITs or the IIMs.