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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

DOPT NAILED


DoPT Site - In compliance to directions given to DoPT to remove the
incorrect clarification on “file noting” posted on the website, the
Commission was informed on 02.01.2009 by Deputy Secretary, DoPT that
the entire issue was placed before the Committee of Secretaries for
its consideration and its decision is awaited. The letter dated
09.01.2009 of the Commission to the Joint Secretary (AT&T), failed to
elicit any compliance report from him.

Holding that Dr. S.K. Sarkar, Joint Secretary (AT&T) has obstructed,
and Ms Anuradha Chagti and the DoPT as a Public Authority have
knowingly violated and disobeyed its orders, the Commission summoned
them for personal appearance at 11.00 A.M. on 17-06-2009 and show
caused why they should not be prosecuted for the above offences and
penalised u/s 20(1).


The Commission found it appalling that the Nodal Ministry under the
RTI Act has sought to emasculate the mandate enshrined u/s 19(7) of
the Act which makes the decisions of the Commission legally binding.
The Commission noted that if the DoPT or its functionaries were in any
way aggrieved with the order or directions of this Commission, they
could have challenged the same or sought time for implementing the
Commission’s directions. The Commission directed to forward a copy of
the decision to the Cabinet Secretary, by name.

Comments
Vide Circular No.1/20/2009-IR dated 23.06.2009, the DoPT has now
clarified that File Notings are information and are not exempt from
disclosure. This order may be an eye opener for those PIOs who have
yet to understand the importance of the Act.
 
Mrs. Anuradha Verma
Co-author of the book: RIGHT TO INFORMATION - LAW AND PRACTICE

Former Navy Chief Mehta is New Envoy to New Zealand

In a surprise development, India today named former Naval Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta as its new High Commissioner to New Zealand.

The appointment of 62-year-old Mehta comes within six weeks of his retirement from the Navy.

He is possibly the first retired Naval Chief to be appointed as an Indian envoy.

Mehta is expected to take up his assignment shortly, External Affairs Ministry said.

Earlier, the other Defence chiefs who served as Indian envoys were Field Marshal K M Cariappa and Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh. Cariappa was High Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand in the 1950s while Arjan Singh had served as envoy to Switzerland.

Mehta served as Chief of the Indian Navy from 31 October 2006 until 31 August 2009.

The first service chief from India's armed forces to be born post the Indian Independence, Mehta joined the Fleet Air Arm of the Indian Navy, where he flew the Hawker Sea Hawk off the aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant.

He served as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) from 30 September 2005 till his appointment as the Naval Chief.

He was appointed as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) on 28 September 2007.



Army Commanders' conference to begin tomorrow

New Delhi, Oct 20 (PTI) To review its operational preparedness and modernisation plans, the Indian Army will hold a four-day Commanders' Conference here beginning tomorrow.

"The operational preparedness of the Army will be reviewed by the top commanders to include the operational plans and modernisation of weapons and equipment proposed and in progress," Army officials said here.

"Some of the new concepts in the operational as well as administrative levels evolved in the recent past will also be discussed," they added.

The conference will also deliberate on the security situation prevalent in the country and neighbouring countries, officials said.

Issues having direct impact on the welfare of troops will also be discussed including travel entitlements of troops, utilisation of military land, and other administrative procedural issue requiring modification.

Army's existing policies on Group Insurance Scheme and Army Welfare Education Society will be reviewed during the conference.


Army doesn't want others to wear fatigues

I WONDER : THIS MENACE WAS STARTED BY ARMY ITSELF IN NORTHEN COMMAND (AROUND 2000-2001).... THIS IS A NEW ISSUE, BUT WHAT ABOUT 40 YR OLD ISSUE WHEN ARMY HAD ASKED MHA TO CHANGE POLICE BADGES AND MHA REPLIED SAYING THAT THE BADGES R DIFFERENT SINCE ARMY WEARS BRASS AND POLICE WEARS SILVER. BUT NOWADAYS HAS ANYBODY NOTICED  UTTAR PRADESH POLICE.... THEY ALL WEAR BRASS..... WATCHOUT GENS.....!!!! 
 
Mumbai: The Indian Army uniform is getting too 'uniform'. The Border Security Force personnel are wearing a similar fatigue, complain army officials. Private security agencies and owners of factories, restaurants, farm houses, big shops, malls and plush colonies too are draping their guards in army uniform.

It has given the terrorists chance to masquerade in army uniform. The October 10 strike by Taliban gunmen at the Pakistan army headquarters in Rawalpindi brought back memories of the 2002 Swaminarayan Temple attack in Gandhinagar. More than 50 civilians were killed when Kashmiri separatists, dressed like National Security Guard commandos, fired indiscriminately inside the temple.

There had been other similar massacres -- the attack on Amarnath pilgrims; at Raghunath temple in Jammu. Dressed in army uniforms, the terrorists found it easier to kill.
The Indian Army has renewed its demand for a law barring everyone else from donning its combat uniform. "If a civilian can purchase an army uniform from a garment store, so can terrorists," said a senior army official.

To bar access to its uniform, the Army has suggested that only authorised stores and tailors, located at military cantontments, be allowed to sell the uniform. And that too, on confirmation that the buyer was an armyman.

There is also a demand for unauthorised use of the uniform being made a cognisable and non-bailable offence, with mandatory and automatic punishment. 
 

Indian Army cleans 14-km stretch to Amarnath cave

JAMMU: The Indian Army, in a major environmental drive, cleaned four tonnes of non-biodegradable waste on the 14 km stretch from Baltal to Amarnath cave shrine in Jammu and Kashmir, a senior official said Tuesday.

The track, located at the height of 12,000 feet above sea level at Baltal to the cave shrine, was littered with plastic bags, empty mineral water bottles and other non-biodegradable material.

This exercise was undertaken by the High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS), Sonamarg, 100 km north of Srinagar, under the plan laid out by its Commandant Brigadier Jagmohan Varma, said Colonel D.K. Kachari, PRO of the Northern Command.

A team of 247 Army personnel undertook the drive to collect non-biodegradable waste lying in the area with each individual collecting 20 kg approximately.

A total of four tonnes of non-biodegradable waste was collected and disposed off, cleaning up the environment under the banner "Save Green Himalayas", Kachari said. 
 

The policeman deserves a memorial

I WONDER : BETTER I DON'T COMMENT.


An old tribal father had lost his policeman son to the bullets of the insurgents. He was distraught with grief. In this hour of sorrow he wanted solace in numbers. He wanted to learn about the other grief-stricken parents. Since he was going to New Delhi he wanted to pay homage to all the other valorous sons and daughters who were part of the policeman’s family.
Innocently, he asked me where he could go in New Delhi to pay his respects to all the departed policemen who had laid down their lives for the unity and integrity of India. I was stumped. There was a no answer to this brutally frank question.
Since the beginning of 2009, every day two policemen have been killed in the line of duty by enemies of the state. No other organisation in this gigantic country even comes close to the supreme sacrifices made by this tireless organisation called the Indian Police.
If patriotism means giving your life for the protection of fellow citizens, taking the bullet in your chest for the safety and security of millions of countrymen, no other organisation does it more often, day in and day out, a daily grind, than the Indian Police.
The prime minister and the home minister have mentioned innumerable times that the internal security threats are the greatest threats that India faces today. It is here that the Indian Police has risen to the occasion, fighting and dying year after year, in the effort to provide the most secure environment in the country.
Police Commemoration Day is observed on October 21, in honour of the martyr who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty, from the hills of Manipur, to the jungles of Bastar, to the streets of Mumbai, to the unknown hinterland of India.
Civil society should stand up and respect the ubiquitous, hard-working indefatigable Pandu Havildar who is always on the beat patrol 24 hours a day be it Diwali, Eid-ul-Fitr or Dusserah, Cyclone Aila or tsunami. Civil society should help strengthen the sinews of the Indian Police to counteract the enemies of the state and also help to check the cancerous growth that destroys the fair and just system.
Despite the Satyam scam, IT industry is growing. Society is not tarnishing the image of the entire industry because of one misdemeanour including the big wigs like TCS, Infosys and Wipro. Society and even the government are going out of the way to help resurrect the tainted Satyam.
This is being done for the greater good of the nation.Despite the ‘Ketchup Colonel’, society has the greatest respect for the Indian Army. The colonel in a moment of madness created the falsehood of encounters by pouring tomato ketchup upon people, taking photographs to prove a fictitious encounter. The long arm of the law caught him. This one aberration cannot erase the countless admirable acts that the Indian Army does all 365 days. And the civil society does it for the greater good of the nation.
The same respect and the same attitude should be displayed by civil society towards the Indian Police. The police have a tradition going back to 1861; they have seen the valleys of fear and the peaks of glory.
We have to start at the very beginning — Recruitment. Twenty-eight states have 28 different methods and modes of recruitment. If you take in rotten apples, all you get is rotten policemen giving you a rotten society.The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) are the best centres of excellence because the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) is one of the fairest and toughest examinations in the country. A student who goes through the process is an uncut diamond. They are not plain mounds of coal. The IITs can make diamonds shine and sparkle but if they get coal, they can do nothing.
Police recruitment over the years has become peculiar. The bane has to be eradicated. Quality policemen are sine qua non for a professional police force which can counter myriad problems of the 21st century from cyber crimes to human trafficking, from Naxals to narcotics.
It is here that civil society can play a stellar role. Every taxpayer and citizen of the country has the right to get the best service in the world. And to get that service civil society cannot feign ignorance, apathy or simply shout profanities from the rooftops. They have to get into the kitchen and take the heat.
To come to the question of the old tribal father — where does he go in the country to pay his tribute to the unknown policeman who has selflessly toiled and died to ensure everyone has a good night’s sleep?
Sadly, there is no place in this country for the martyred honest policeman. We have no memorial — it is sad but true. It is astounding, but since 1947 the Indian Police has been an integral part of the phenomenal development of Economic India, Nuclear India, G20 World, but has had more brickbats than bouquets. The Indian Police should be made an integral part of the Planning Commission because no development can take place without a conducive security environment.
One day there might be a place, in the 28 state capitals, to honour the dead policemen and celebrate life.
When kids play with balloons on the lawns of India Gate in New Delhi the souls of the great warriors of the Indian Army must be dancing with happiness to see that their supreme sacrifice has given their progeny and that of their countrymen a happy environment. Death is all about peace.
It is time for civil society to pause, ponder and be profligate with praises this October 21. 

(The author is IGP, Tripura.
Views expressed are personal)

China looking to use stake in PoK as bargaining chip?

BEIJING: The Chinese foreign ministry on Tuesday did nothing to justify its decision to invest in the Neelam-Jhelum hydroelectric project in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, which has drawn India's ire.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu evaded a directly reply to questions on why China was investing in the disputed area. Indications are that China does not want the issue to come in the way of a smooth dialogue when the foreign ministers of the two countries meet in Bangalore on October 27.

"The Kashmir issue has been left over from history. Pakistan and India should properly handle it. We hope there will be peace and stability in South Asia," Ma said responding to a question about India's protest over the proposed Chinese investment.

Ma was asked by another reporter how Chinese investment will help India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir problem. He repeated more or less the same words without trying to explain Beijing's decision.

The ministry spokesman's refusal to justify a decision taken during the recent meeting between Chinese president Hu Jintao and Pakistan prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani may suggest that Beijing is taking a second look at its move to invest in POK.

India had earlier reacted to the move saying: "The Chinese side is fully aware of India's position and our concerns about Chinese activities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. We hope that the Chinese side will take a long term view of the India-China relations, and cease such activities in areas illegally occupied by Pakistan."

The issue is expected to come up when Indian foreign minister S.M.Krishna meets his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on October 27. The Chinese foreign ministry today confirmed that Yang will attend the trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of India, Russia and China in Bangalore. Yang and Krishna will will hold a separate meeting to exchange views on bilateral ties and regional and international issues of common concern, Ma said.

China is also putting pressure on India to stop the proposed visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh ahead of the forthcoming meeting between the Indian and Chinese foreign ministers.

China was firmly opposed to the Dalai Lama's visit to what he described as "the so-called Arunachal Pradesh". Beijing claims that Arunachal Pradesh is part of its own territory and describes it as "South Tibet".

"We believe that this further exposes the Dalai Lama clique's anti-China and separatist nature," Ma said. China seems to suggest that Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh will further the cause of separatists seeking an independent Tibet.

He said India and China have agreed to further advance their strategic cooperative partnership by holding a series of commemorative activities, including a "country festival" to mark the 60th anniversary of establishing official diplomatic ties in 2010. 
 

Improve anti-terror strategy: PM

NEW DELHI: Worries over the situation in the rogue neighbourhood led Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday to call for India to improve her “defensive mechanisms against all forms of terrorism”.

Speaking at the Combined Commanders’ Conference here, Mr Singh said regular warnings about imminent terrorist attacks in the country were a matter of “deep concern”. The prime minister’s statements come in the wake of a spate of terror attacks in Pakistan, including twin blasts at an Islamabad university on Tuesday.

He told the armed forces commanders: “Although there has been no major terrorist attack in India since then (26/11), there are regular intelligence reports of imminent attacks in the country. This is a matter of deep concern, and there is no room for complacency. The terrorist attack on our embassy in Kabul on October 8 is yet another grim reminder of the forces we are pitted against. The overall situation in our immediate neighbourhood has worsened since I last spoke to you.” Mr Singh brought up the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to warn about “the lethal dimensions of terrorism and non-traditional threats to our security”.

Mr Singh refused to accept the distinction that Islamabad draws between state and non-state actors. “There are both state and non-state actors involved in the business of terrorism. India is a democracy and an open society and is, therefore, sometimes highly vulnerable. We have, therefore, to improve our defensive mechanisms against all forms of terrorism, asymmetric warfare and aggravated militancy. We need to be prepared to face onslaughts of this kind, but we should avoid knee-jerk reactions,” Mr Singh said.

Home minister P Chidambaram also recently highlighted India’s concerns over Pakistan falling short when it came to keeping Islamic terror groups under control. Mr Chidambaram had said that India continued to remain vulnerable to 26/11-type attacks as Pakistan has not been able to rein in Islamic terror groups. He, however, warned that any new attack would be tackled with a “swift and decisive” response.

Mr Singh, in his address, said the government had taken “several steps to strengthen the intelligence and security machinery and coordination between the Centre and states”. The prime minister asked the armed forces to be “fully equipped to deal with all threat scenarios” and said the ability of Indian troops to deal with “non-traditional threats” must receive greater attention.

Mr Singh also added that the UPA government was fully committed to modernisation of the armed forces and said the modernisation plan should have a long-term perspective and be formulated in an integrated manner involving all the three services.

In the wake of the terror attacks in Pakistan, defence minister A K Antony had also dubbed the situation in that country as being “very serious” and warned that terrorism was spreading. Speaking on the sidelines of a function on Monday to mark the 60th anniversary of the territorial army, Mr Antony said that everyone, including Pakistan, needed to act “seriously and sincerely” to fight terrorism.