Friday, October 2, 2009

Sibal lines up concessions for IIT faculty : PAY DISPUTE

New Delhi, Oct. 1: Education minister Kapil Sibal is likely to declare tomorrow a series of specific concessions to protesting IIT faculty to end a protracted pay dispute that has mired the premier engineering schools for over a month.

The IITs can absorb bright young teachers into their regular faculty even before they complete a stipulated three-year contract period, the human resource development minister is expected to concede on Friday.

The institutes can also tweak two other controversial norms without officially approaching the HRD ministry if these rules hamper efforts to hire or retain the best teachers, Sibal is expected to tell faculty representatives.

The minister is meeting select representatives of the All India IIT Faculty Federation at his residence tomorrow, a day before he leaves for Paris to attend a Unesco meeting.

The contractual period for fresh teachers can be shortened by individual IIT boards for bright faculty members, the HRD minister is expected to tell the faculty representatives, sources said.

So, if a young teacher is bright enough in the estimation of an IIT, the board of this institute can absorb him into the regular faculty without waiting for a stipulated three-year contract period to end.

The faculty are concerned that the three-year contract period, laid down in a controversial pay regime first notified on September 18 — and reported by The Telegraph — may deter bright prospective teachers.

The controversial notification also required that the IITs, at any point of time, hire at least 10 per cent of their total faculty on contract.

This regulation, the faculty fear, could lead to vacancies in teaching posts because qualified aspirants may not wish to join on contract.

But Sibal is expected to tell the IIT faculty that the 10 per cent norm is merely an “advisory” from the HRD ministry that each institute’s board can bend if recruitment is hampered.

The IIT faculty have also protested against a 40 per cent cap on professors eligible for a rank-based increment known as academic grade pay.

The faculty have argued that the cap may kill progress opportunities for young professors as seniors would have already filled the number of slots allowed the higher pay.

They have also contended that the cap could give rise to favouritism in determining which professors receive the higher salary.

Sibal is expected to tell the faculty that the IIT council — the highest decision-making body of the IITs that the HRD minister heads — is ready to raise the cap if needed.

According to the sources, Sibal is expected to say that if, in the coming years, the IITs experience the problems the faculty have envisaged because of the 40 per cent cap, the IIT council will “favourably” raise the cap.

Sibal will also repeat an assurance he earlier gave the IIT directors and faculty — that the government has agreed to introduce a performance-related incentive scheme for faculty at the IITs.

The scheme — being drafted by IIT directors — will augment teachers’ salaries on the basis of their performance measured by parameters in teaching, research, technology development, institution-related work and other professional contributions.

Latest Order dt 11 Sept 09 : Commutation Of Pension

Dear Readers,

This important govt order is placed here for your information and necessary action please.

link is here :

pension commutation order 11 sept 09


Hardcore Soldier

Growing number of China incursions into India lead to a strategy change

A convoy of Indian army vehicles makes their way through the Himalayas en route to the Siachen Glacier on the India-Pakistan border.

Tsering Mutp served 15 years as a Ladakhi scout (infantry regiment) and is currently employed as a driver. Shown here in Leh, India, in September, Mr. Mutp drove to the Deputy Commissioner to the Chinese border to talk with villagers.
Mary Knox Merrill/Staff

.....Along the disputed border near Ladakh, India has long neglected infrastructure to discourage a Chinese invasion. But the strategic landscape is shifting...... 

First came the Chinese helicopters, flying low. Then came the Indian officials asking what happened. Suddenly, the tiny Himalayan village of Demchok stands at the center of rising tensions between the world's two most populous nations.
Villagers told an Indian delegation recently that the two Chinese choppers buzzed the village in August and flew several miles into Indian territory, according to Tsering Mutp, a retired Indian soldier who attended the meeting. Mr. Mutp says the villagers had some pointed questions for the visiting officials. In particular, they asked why on the Chinese side of the river there are paved roads and development but nothing on their side.
The answer lies in India's strategy for dealing with China's land claims. In the past, India has deliberately neglected the roads and other infrastructure in such border regions to slow down any possible invasion, says Brahma Chellaney, a security expert at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi. But in response to a major spike in cross-border incursions by the Chinese in the past few years, the Indian approach is changing, with plans to expand infrastructure and bring more of a government footprint to the contested region.
"Now the Chinese are basically doing so much damage on the Tibetan plateau, and given these Chinese border incidents and provocations, the Indians have been left with no choice but to begin infrastructure development along the Himalayas," says Mr. Chellaney.
Chinese incursions jumped from 140 in 2007 to 280 in 2008, says Chellaney. The Indian government is trying to downplay mounting reports in the India media of Chinese incursions in Ladakh and Uttarakhand and says this year has seen "no significant increase."
"That is alarming. That means the Chinese are still sustaining pressure at last year's level," says Chellaney.
China officially denies incursions. "Border patrols are strictly conducted according to the law and will never enter [Indian] territory," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said last month.
The Indian government has tried to keep the issue out of the public square, calling it media "hype." Good relations with Beijing are important to Delhi: China is now India's largest trading partner.
But India is also quietly building up the border.
A journey to Ladakh
In September, the Indian Air Force opened a new high-altitude airfield here in the district of Ladakh in the country's far north, bordering both China and Pakistan. It follows the building of two other fields in the Himalayas in the last 15 months, including the world's highest at 16,200 feet at Daulat Beg Oldi.
India is currently repositioning Sukhoi war jets to its northeastern borders with China. Air Chief Marshal P V Naik said earlier this month that while the Chinese posed no imminent threat, there was a jet gap.
"Our present aircraft strength is inadequate. Aircraft strength is one third that of China. The government of India is doing a lot to augment Air Force capability," he said.
India also approved construction of four strategic roads in Ladakh – part of a wider road-building effort across the Himalayas. Crews can already be seen beavering away on remote mountain roads in Ladakh, burying new wiring.
Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is burgeoning with new development and tourism – a trend stoked partly by patriotism. "It should grow quite fast and quite big. That's the best deterrent for people who create problems at the border," says a developer visiting from Delhi with a construction proposal for the district government.
The two countries fought a bloody border war in 1962, leaving unresolved issues over the precise border. Since 1981, the two have been in talks to finalize the 2,000-mile sprawling border to no avail. Among the sticking points is China's claim of a piece of Indian-controlled territory three times the size of Taiwan.
Recent media reports of incursions in Ladakh range from the brazen to the bizarre: Chinese soldiers painting "China" on rocks inside Indian territory, Chinese boats surrounding an Indian vessel on a high-altitude border lake, and the dropping of frozen food from the air.
Mr. Mutp, who drove the deputy commissioner of Ladakh to Demchok, said the villagers had not heard of air-dropped food, and mostly seemed to think it was distant city folk who were making a fuss. (The deputy commissioner refused to talk about Chinese incursions and the military restricts access to Demchok and other border areas.)
Chinese weather
Even in Leh, residents mostly shrug off the Chinese incursions, speaking about them as if they were a cyclic part of the weather.
Others express some concern about creeping militarization. "There might be more armies transferred to the border to protect [it]," says Rigzin Dhonup, a university student from Ladakh. He says that while the Army is disciplined and well-behaved, more troops would raise tensions and perhaps provoke China or Pakistan into responding.
Leh already houses the entire 14th Corps of the Indian Army, as well as an indigenous force called the Ladakh Scouts. Soldiers are frequently seen walking through the bazaars.
Active and former soldiers and Scouts who have patrolled the Chinese border describe it as mostly a relaxed affair, with handwaves exchanged at times across the river. However, the Hindustan Times newspaper reports that along the border at Pangong Lake, Indian soldiers who used to patrol unarmed now carry weapons.
A colonel currently serving in the 14th Corps, who says he is not authorized to speak, describes regular monthly meetings involving the exchange of gifts and discussions between the two patrolling forces on parts of the border.
The recent activity from the Chinese he says is "normal" and "it's just to keep busy." When asked which country – Pakistan or China – is more threatening to India, he says "both are equally."
Over time, however, that view has been shifting. Chellaney agrees with India's former Air Force chief Fali Homi, who says China is now the greater threat. Chellaney points out that China has delivered military assistance to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Nepal.
Some of those Chinese partnerships can be seen as gaining footholds in the Indian Ocean and its shipping lanes from the oil-rich Middle East. But these countries also encircle the Indian mainland.
"The idea is to constrain India's strategic options," Chellaney says. "The idea is not to actually use force but to create a situation where India stays on good behavior."       

Boat tragedy: Centre turned down state's plea


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Union Government turned down the request of the State Government for the service of Indian Air Force aircraft to airlift the bodies of those killed in the Thekkady boat mishap.

Sources in the Chief Minister’s office said that the Centre had demanded Rs 45 lakh for the use of Air Force aircraft.

The Defence Ministry said that even then the aircraft would be allowed only after eight hours, sources said.

Subsequently the State Government decided to transport the bodies in the aircraft of private airlines. Kingfisher Airlines charged only Rs four lakh per hour for the same task. Sources said that the Chief Minister had telephoned Defence Minister A K Antony four times in this regard.

Following his advice the Chief Minister’s office faxed the message to the Prime Minister’s Office.

MHA for hiring ex-naval officers for coastal security

New Delhi, Oct 1 (PTI) Notwithstanding opposition from coastal states, the Union Home Ministry has asked them to hire ex-naval officials to strengthen policing along the shores.

The directive came from Home Minister P Chidambaram, who has said that if ex-Indian Air Force pilots could be hired for operating helicopters, then why not ex-seamen and sailors to operate the boats.

"States must make efforts of their own," a top Home Ministry official said.

The Home Ministry recently procured two Interceptor boats in September raising the total to 24. The shortfall of 12 such boats was expected to be completed by end of this year.

States have expressed reservations over setting up of coastal police stations saying the Indian waters should be guarded by the Navy or by the Coast Guards and the police should be kept out of it.


India Seeks Strategic Posture for Air Force

NEW DELHI - As the Indian Air Force (IAF) turns 77 this year, it aims to become an emerging strategic force.
Addressing an Oct. 1 news conference here, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik, the IAF chief, said, "We are acquiring capabilities and modernizing the existing assets to deal [effectively] with any conflict scenario."
The IAF will never be an adversary force, Naik said, adding that "our priority is to meet the country's aspirations. India has spheres of influence from the Strait of Malacca to the Strait of Hormuz, and the IAF should have greater reach and air superiority."
The IAF today is improving its reach, firepower and protection, he said, adding that priorities are to have long-range aircraft, lethal weapons, precision munitions and a robust air defense network.
The IAF this year inducted one AWACS aircraft, and two more will come on line in 2010. In addition, the IAF is acquiring three midair refuelers, six C-130 transport aircraft, 80 medium-lift helicopters, Spyder air defense systems, medium power radars and low-level transportable radar.
India also has entered into an agreement with Russia for the joint development of fifth-generation fighter aircraft and for production of medium transport aircraft.
"We are also building capabilities in satellites, communications, radars and electronic countermeasures," Naik added.
In addition, IAF will procure 180 basic trainer aircraft through a global bid.

Manali-Leh Railway Of Strategic Importance For Indian Army – Lt Gen AS Lamba

Shimla: Going beyond a Pakistan centric approach, the army aware of its widening responsibilities, would be logistically empowered should projects like Manali – Leh rail line take off to offset the advantage that Tibet rail line has provided for the Chinese forces, ARTRAC  commander AS Lamba stated here.

Lt Gen AS Lamba, AVSM, GOC-in-C, assumed command of ARTRAC on today and was interacting with the media after taking a guard of honour on assuming charge on what is also the 19th Raising Day for the Shimla based command.

He said the national security environment at a regional level was becoming multi-polar and ARTRAC acting as a ‘Think Tank’ for the army was responsible for conceptualising doctrines and policies for institutional training.

The aim of raising the training command was to optimise effectiveness of institutional training within the army, said General Lamba.

When questioned about the changed security environment on the India China border because of the Tibet railway track, he said, the train service had increased the logistic capability of the Chinese forces, which could move into the region much faster than what road transport permits.

“The proposed Manali-Leh railway line does help to give an advantage to the Indian army for limited road access can hinder capabilities,” he said.

The equipment, which a foot soldier carries today, has drastically changed from what it was a decade ago.  Night vision devices and GPS systems has increased manoeuvrability, turning the infantryman into a war machine, said the General.

ARTRAC came into being on 01 Oct 1991 at MHOW and subsequently shifted to Shimla in 1993.
General Lamba, a graduate of Nataional Defence Academy was commissioned into the regiment of artillery in June 1971 and participated in the Indo-Pakistan war, later in the year.  Besides having served in Nagaland, Manipur, the General was part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka.

The general officer belongs to the elite PARA fraternity and is Colonel Commandant of the Regiment of Artillery. 

Indian Army Joins Chinese Army's Celebrations

Indian Army officers and soldiers today joined their Chinese counterparts across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) near Bum La in Arunachal Pradesh to celebrate 60th National Day of China.

The Indian army personnel, along with their families, were invited by the Chinese to join the celebrations, Indian Army officials said.

The event commenced with the Chinese delegation leader welcoming his Indian counterpart Brigadier C P Mohanty, at the 'Heap of Stones' in Bum La.

This was followed by flag hoisting ceremony by the Chinese.

During the occasion, both sides once again reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen friendship and to maintain peace and tranquillity along the border. The Chinese hosted a cultural show depicting the cultural heritage of their country.

The Chinese army officers and soldiers had attended India's 63rd Independence Day celebrations at Bum La in Tawang district which was hosted by the Indian Army. 

Army personnel from both countries meet periodically at Border Personnel Meetings (BPMs) at Bum La which plays a pivotal role in enhancing the bonhomie between the two emerging Asian giants along the Sino-Indian border.

Such meetings are seen as a vital platform for resolving local issues with a view to enhance peace and tranquillity in the sector.

These interactions between the Indian and Chinese armies started initially as flag meetings and later converted into BPM in 1999 after which it became a regular event.

IAF wants 50 more Sukhois to counter China, Pakistan

NEW DELHI: With both China and Pakistan bolstering their air combat fleets, IAF is now seeking another 50 Sukhoi-30MKI multi-role "air dominance" fighters to cater for any contingency on both the eastern and western fronts. These 50 new Sukhois will in addition to the 230 of these twin-seater fighters already contracted from Russia in three deals worth upwards of $8.5 billion.

Having inducted 105 of the 230 Sukhois till now, IAF has already begun to base these jets in the North-East in a clear move to counter China's rapid modernisation of its armed forces. Incidentally, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has been directed to complete the manufacture of 140 of the 230 Sukhois under transfer of technology by 2015 at all costs.

India's "dissuasive deterrence" military posture against China, after all, revolves around the Sukhois as well as the 3,500km nuclear-capable Agni-III missile, which will be ready for operational deployment by 2011, and the 5,000km range Agni-V missile in the pipeline.

IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik confirmed to TOI on Thursday that his force was indeed "interested" in acquiring more Sukhois, which will be the mainstay of India's fighter fleet for the forseeable future, to further enhance its combat potential.

Bombarded by a spate of questions on the military equation vis-a-vis China on day the People's Liberation Army showcased its staggering military might to mark 60 years of communism, ACM Naik said IAF's acquisition of combat capabilities was not "country or adversary-specific". While exuding "confidence" that a repeat of the 1962 conflict was simply "not possible", the IAF chief said, "We need to develop certain capabilities which are required or will be required in the future in tune with India's aspirations." 

IAF, after all, needs to project power as well as have "strategic reach" from Hormuz Strait near Persian Gulf right down to Malacca Strait, which India visualises as its primary area of geopolitical interest. In its quest to emerge as a "strategic aerospace force", IAF has embarked on a major modernisation drive, which ranges from Israeli AWACS and aerostat radars to American C-130J 'Super Hercules' aircraft.

IAF wants anti-Naxal security shield

NEW DELHI: The IAF, which has of late seen a greater role for itself in internal security operations, including the anti-Naxalite offensive launched by the government, has sought the defence ministry’s permission “to fire in self-defence.” 

A proposal to this effect, Air Chief Marshal P V Naik said here on Thursday afternoon, has been put up before the defence ministry. It comes in the wake of an attack on an IAF helicopter soon after it lifted off from Pedia in the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on its way to Bijapur on November 15 last year, killing a flight engineer and injuring two others. 

With the IAF choppers being commissioned more often for casualty-evacuation and ferrying para-military forces in Jammu and Kashmir and the Naxalite-ravaged regions, there are fears that, in the absence of adequate security shield, they may become sitting ducks at the hands of the well-armed Naxalites. “IAF helicopters getting shot at is a matter of a very serious concern. To pre-empt to such strikes, we’ve decided against pressing into service light helicopters. Only armoured helicopters will be used. Even the crew will be armed. We’re are also ensuring 100% sanitisation of the area being targeted,’’ the Chief of Air Staff told newspersons while addressing the customary Air Force Day’s eve press conference. 

Air Chief Marshal Naik, in his interaction, pointed out that while the IAF was committed to playing its traditional role —that of fortifying the country against external threat— with an ever greater vigour, its role in homeland security operations was set to increase. “The IAF is already involved in Jammu and Kashmir in the insertion and extraction of troops, surveillance by the unmanned UAVs. It is now being called to evacuate casualties in the Naxal-hit areas such as Dantewada,’’ he said. 

Undertaking offensive roles in internal territory, according to him, was a far more challenging task. “In such a terrain, unless you’ve 120% intelligence, you cannot distinguish between a bad guy and a good guy. A decision needs to be taken at the highest level before we go in for the attack mode,’’ the CAS remarked. 

With China being the flavour of the day, the IAF Chief was confronted with a volley of questions on the threat from across the border. He, however, remained guarded in his responses in a clear attempt to underplay the issue. “We cannot be adversary-specific. We need to develop capabilities to meet the challenges facing the country --those capabilities which can meet the country’s aspirations,’’ he said. 

The capability-building exercise, Air Chief Marshal Naik argued, was dependent on four pillar -- see, first and farthest; reach, farthest and first; hit, accurately and hard; and protect, our assets both in peace and war. The IAF, he said, was building its capabilities keeping these factors in mind. 

On being asked about the building and reactivation of airstrips lying close to the border with China, the CAS said that plans were afoot to upgrade the advanced landing grounds in Arunachal Pradesh. “Such a plan was long overdue. Now that we’ve the go-ahead we’ll press ahead with full steam,’’ he said. 

Since the terrain was very difficult in the region, it would, he revealed, take 3-5 years to make these fully operational. 

The IAF had recently opened an airstrip at the Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground in eastern Ladakh, just 23 km from the LAC with China. Responding to another query, the IAF Chief ruled out the possibility of inducting women officers to pilot fighter aircraft “in the near future.” “We have some 790 lady officers at present in all branches of the IAF, except the fighter aircraft. In the near future, there are no plans to induct them for piloting fighter aircraft. There are certain issues involved, which have to be addressed first,’’ he said. 

India, China stand-off over separate visas

NEW DELHI: Taking a serious view of China’s latest move to issue “separate” visas to Indian passport holders from Jammu and Kashmir, the government has told Beijing in no uncertain terms to put an immediate end to this practice or face a similar discrimination, besides fewer and tougher visas, for its own citizens seeking Indian visas. 

The ministry of external affairs took up the matter with the Chinese embassy here and asked Beijing to stop discriminating against Indian nationals on the basis of their “ethnicity” and “domicile”. 

The MHA, which handles immigration matters, has made it clear that it will not allow Indian passport holders with a non-stamped Chinese visa to leave the country. Also, it conveyed to Beijing through the MEA to either stop the practice of issuing Chinese visas to J&K and Arunachal Pradesh residents on a separate piece of paper — as against the stamped visas issued to all other Indian citizens — right away, or face a similar discriminatory regime in processing of Chinese applications for an Indian visa. 

“How would they feel if India only offers a stamped visa to Tibetans while issuing visas on a separate paper for the applications residing in other parts of China,” commented a senior MHA official. 

The tit-for-tat threat was conveyed to the Chinese embassy here by the MEA, which has even earlier taken up the discriminatory practice followed in issue of visas to Indian passport holders from Arunachal Pradesh. However, the addition of J&K to their “separate visas” list has infuriated the authorities here, forcing them to make it clear to Beijing that it would face a similar treatment from India when it processes visa applications from Chinese citizens. 

This is not all. India has also threatened to pay back China in the same coin by ensuring tougher scrutiny of employment visas sought by the Chinese to work here. According to MHA sources, India was far more liberal in admitting Chinese workers than Beijing has ever been in allowing Indians to work in China. As against 25,000 Chinese working on several business projects here, no more than 2,000 Indians have been granted employment visa to work on Chinese soil. 

What is more, the 25,000 Chinese workers were being allowed to work here on a business visa. Some of them were even travelling to Pakistan and Bangladesh during the visa period, only to come back a day before expiry of their business visa, which is completely illegal. 

“Legally speaking, we can take police action against such Chinese admitted on a business visa only to get employment here, and travelling with impunity outside India during the validity of their business visa,” an official pointed out. 

With the deadline for converting from a business visa to an employment visa expiring on October 31, the Chinese citizens who continue to work on a business visa will face immediate action by the immigration authorities. 

The government is also contemplating a stricter scrutiny of employment visas, which will also be cut drastically if Beijing continues with its pinprick of issuing separate visa to the residents of J&K and Arunachal.