Based on the meeting convened by Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman with Members of Parliament and elected Vice Presidents of all 62 Cantonment Boards on May 4, 2018, on the issues relating to Cantonments, a detailed review was undertaken by the Ministry on various issues, in particular those relating to closure of roads in the Cantonments. The Raksha Mantri Smt Sitharaman has also reviewed the matter with Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, Defence Secretary Shri Sanjay Mitra and senior officers of the Ministry.
Based on the review undertaken by Smt Sitharaman, as a first step, the following has been decided:
• All closed roads in the Cantonments to be reopened immediately.
• The issue of closure of individual roads will be reviewed de novo, in conformity with the provisions as laid down, and any closure of roads to be undertaken, will be done only after following the due procedure.
• A simplified detailed SOP will shortly be issued to jointly address the needs of the local public and the military establishment.
All other issues raised in the meeting dated May 4, 2018, were deliberated in detail and a time bound action plan is being prepared in consultation with all stakeholders.
BrahMos, supersonic cruise missile was successfully test fired at 1040 hours on May 21, 2018 from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Balasore, Odisha as part of service life extension programme. The life extension test firing of BrahMos was conducted from a Static Inclined Launcher, proving the efficacy and longevity of the system which was witnessed by the Scientist from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and BrahMos.
The precision strike missile flew in its designated trajectory and the key components functioned perfectly.
BrahMos is a joint venture between DRDO of India and NPOM of Russia, the highly versatile BrahMos has emerged as the ultimate weapon of choice in modern warfare with its unmatched speed, precision and firepower.
Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated team DRDO and BrahMos for the successful test firing and said that it would result in huge saving of replacement cost of missiles held in the inventory of Indian Armed Forces.
Chairman DRDO & Secretary Department of Defence R&D Dr S Christopher, congratulated team DRDO and BrahMos scientists on the successful validation of life extension test firing of BrahMos Missile. DG (BrahMos) & CEO & MD, BrahMos Dr Sudhir Mishra congratulated the team BrahMos for the successful flight test and said this launch will benefit the Armed Forces to maintain inventory for economical and longer duration.
BrahMos, supersonic cruise missile was successfully test fired at 1145 hours on May 22, 2018 from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore, Odisha. The missile was launched from a Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) and successfully flew in its pre-set trajectory fulfilling its mission objectives.
The major subsystems manufactured indigenously under "Make in India" campaign were tested in the launch. "Through this launch the critical indigenous components including fuel management system and other non-metallic airframe components have qualified to form part of the missile" said DG (BrahMos) & CEO & MD, BrahMos, Dr Sudhir Mishra after witnessing the launch.
SA to RM & DG (Missiles & Strategic Systems) Dr G Satheesh Reddy congratulated the Scientists for successfully developing the multiple sections of BrahMos and proving them in the mission.
Chairman DRDO & Secretary Department of Defence R&D Dr S Christopher congratulated Team DRDO and BrahMos on the successive successful flight test and said that a major milestone has been achieved in the indigenisation of BrahMos.
BrahMos is a joint venture between DRDO of India and NPOM of Russia. The highly versatile BrahMos has been operationalised in the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.
BRAHMOS has established itself as a major force multiplier in modern-day complex battlefields with its impeccable land-attack, anti-ship capabilities with multi-role and multi-platform abilities.
Locals of village Chahuwali in area Rawatsar were helped by the Army by providing a borewell which was prospected as part of the Exercise 'VIJAY PRAHAR' of SAPTA SHAKTI COMMAND which was underwent in Rajasthan. As part of the battle drills, Army Engineers of SAPTA SHAKTI COMMAND drilled a borewell in 24 hours to supply water to the forward troops during the culmination stage of the Exercise. Instead of abandoning the borewell, it was decided to leave the borewell as such for use by the owner of the land.
The land owner Mr Nathuram who is extremely poor was overjoyed with this kind gesture by the Army and with his tearful eye stated that he is greatly indebted to Army for fulfilling his long cherished dream of cultivating his barren land as he could not do so because of non affordability of cost involved in digging of a borewell.
The Sarpanch of the village Mr Jagdish Saharan thanked the Army for this support and exhibiting lot of concern for the locals of the area for which they will remain indebted to Army.
IAF has called for into service its MLH class helicopter using Bambi Buckets, to contain the forest fire at Katra. The operations started at morning of May 24, 2018 wherein two helicopters, one each of the Daring Dragons and of Snow Leopards units, of the Western Air Command were launched. The helicopters filled in water from the Reasi water reservoir in the specially built Bambi Buckets which can carry approximately 2500 ltrs of water at a time.
The first drop was done in the area of the new track from Ardhkuwari to Bhawan. "It was a daunting task keeping in mind the challenging terrain and high tension cables in the area" said the captain of the lead aircraft Wing Commander Vikram.
Operation of these types requires special skills by the pilot who flies with a very heavy load underslung. "We trained to respond to these types of situations whenever demanded. The operations are scheduled to continue through the day till the fire is contained" said Wing Commander Rahul the captain of the second aircraft.
A recee of the area was carried out on May 23, 2018 to ascertain the complexities of the operations.
An Army recruitment rally was conducted by Recruitment Office (Headquarters) Shillong from May 22–25, 2018, exclusively for the youth of Meghalaya. The rally received an overwhelming response with over 4000 young and energetic boys from all the 11 districts of Meghalaya, who want to embrace the opportunity to join the elite profession and serve the Nation in uniform. The rally was flagged off by Brigadier VM Sharma, Deputy Director General (North East States) on May 22, 2018. The rally has various posts for these youth striving, like Soldier General Duty, Soldiers Technical, Soldier Clerk and Soldier Nursing Assistant. Director Recruiting Col AK Sinha, in-charge of recruitment in Meghalaya, did acknowledge the whole heartedly support of local administration for successful conduct of this rally culminated on May 25 , 2018.
To foster the sprit of national integration, solidarity and develop camaraderie amongst the NCC cadets from Gujarat and J&K, the "Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat" Camp, Srinagar was conducted by NCC Group Srinagar at JAK LI Regimental Centre, Rangreth, Srinagar from May 02-13, 2018.
On the penultimate day of the camp, the Chinar Corps Commander, Lt General A K Bhatt, paid a visit to the ongoing Camp and was delighted to meet the jubilant cadets. After presenting a Guard of Honour to the Corps Commander, the Cadets showcased a remarkable cultural programme highlighting the rich heritage of our nation. Speaking on the occasion, the GOC complimented the Cadets for their impeccable parade and the wonderful cultural programme. He also urged the Cadets to make full use of this opportunity to share views and opinions and participate fully in a host of sports, cultural, educational and recreational activities. The Cadets displayed a great bonhomie amongst themselves and exemplified the true spirit of the theme of the Camp while interacting with the GOC.
Marking yet another milestone during its Platinum Jubilee year the College of Military Engineering, Pune conducted a two day Army Technical Seminar sponsored by Army Design Bureau on "Leveraging Technology for Combat Engineering Challenges In High Altitude Areas" on May 4-5, 2018. Congruent to Indian Army's vision to meet operational challenges in High Altitude Areas the seminar was aimed at identifying, appreciating and discussing futuristic trends and emerging technologies in the fields of habitat development, all weather mobility, provision of engineering support, airfield development and camouflage.
Eminent scientists, industry partners, equipment developers, strategic thinkers, academia and military officers including senior veterans handling the subject at various formations participated in this Army level seminar which was conducted over two days. Lieutenant General Michael Mathews, presided over the event and highlighted the requirement of integrated approach by all stakeholders in incorporation of latest technology in overcoming combat engineering challenges in High Altitude Areas. Lieutenant General S K Srivastava, Engineer-in-Chief and Lieutenant General PJS Pannu, Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (DCIDS) delivered key note addresses during the seminar. Dr SR Vadera, Director Defence Laboratory, Jodhpur along with his team of outstanding scientists brought out the latest developments in the field of camouflage and deception.
The grit and determination embrace fate with stern will and fight the odds after losing a dear one in the line of duty is the hall mark of the widows of our martyrs. The biggest strength of a soldier on duty is his belief that if he sacrifices his life in the service of the nation, his family will be looked after by the Army. Towards fulfilling this obligation, Samba Brigade has initiated a unique venture. In collaboration with Aseem Foundation, a Pune based NGO, the brigade has established a bakery for the Army Widows of Samba District that empowers them by earning an income. The NGO has trained these widows to prepare Apple and Walnut cookies, which is sold to corporate customers in Metros. Profits earned would be shared by the widows which will help empower them to lead a better life.
On April 24, 2018, the "Olive Green Bakery" was inaugurated at Samba Military Station. The event was attended by a large number of military dignitaries including Lieutenant General YVK Mohan, GOC Rising Star Corps.
At this occasion, message of Lt Gen Surinder Singh, Army Commander, Western Command was read out, in which the Western Army Commander highly appreciated this noble venture that was in keeping with the Army's tradition of looking after the families of its soldiers even after their sacrifice.
On behalf of Lt Gen BS Negi, GOC-in-C Central Command, Maj Gen DS Bhakuni, MG (Medical) Central Command felicitated Dr. Ajay Kumar Chaudhary a renowned consultant in Gastroenterology practicing in Gomti Nagar, Lucknow. He was conferred with a certificate of excellence and GOC-in-C Commendation Card in recognition of his dedicated, selfless and exemplary service to the Armed Forces personnel.
Accompanied by his father, Dr Ajay was welcomed by Maj Gen Rajat Datta, Commandant, Command Hospital, Central Command, Lucknow. All Heads of Dept of Command Hospital were present to appreciate and applaud the physician. For the past many years, Dr Ajay Kumar Chaudhary has been offering free consultation to soldiers and their families. Dr Ajay said that this felicitation would go a long way in further motivating him as well as other medical practitioners to extend free consultation facilities to the soldiers of the Indian Army.
Furthering the Digital India-initiatives of Government of India, Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), Allahabad has started issuance of electronic-Pension Payment Orders (e-PPOs) to the pensioners along with their Pension Disbursement Agencies viz., Banks, Defence Pension Disbursement Offices, Post Offices, etc. What began in the first phase, for all Commissioned Officers and JCOs/ORs of Armed Forces from the month of October 2017, has now been extended to all defence pensioners including defence civilians.
Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), Allahabad is the sole agency under Ministry of Defence which sanctions Pensions for the Defence Services viz., Army, Coast Guard, Defence Research and Development Organization,General Reserve Engineer Force, Border Roads Organization, Military Engineering Services and other Defence organisations including Defence Account Department and Defence Civilians.
The shift from manual system to e-PPO system is expected to minimize delays in pension disbursement and further revision as and when needed. This initiative also eliminates the occurrence of human errors in data entry at multiple levels.
The next big step in this direction would be digitizing pension documents received from 46 record offices and more than 2900 Heads of Offices. This initiative by PCDA (P) will facilitate better implementation of OROP.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, met on May 22, 2018.
In continuation of its efforts to streamline defence procurement procedures and to reduce timelines so as to ensure timely delivery of equipment to the Armed Forces, the DAC discussed and approved various measures to simplify the defence procurement procedure. These measures will be incorporated in the DPP-16, the manual governing the defence procurement procedure. The significant changes inter-alia include devolution of powers within the Ministry of Defence and the Service Headquarters, concurrent running of the acquisition process instead of sequential stage clearance, deletion of repetitive processes, aligning of various documents with revised financial guidelines, amongst others. These measures will go a long way in obviating undue procedural delays and will hasten activities besides shrinking procurement timelines.
These amendments form part of the ongoing Business Process Re-engineering in Defence Capital procurements.
DGR sponsored Security Agency scheme is a flagship scheme of DGR and most sought after as it provides golden opportunity for retiring defense officers to commence their security agency and JCOs/ OR benefit by getting a job which enables them to lead a life with dignity and self respect in 'Second Innings' of their life.
The scheme offers excellent opportunities to JCOs/ OR who can serve till 65 yrs of age in their home state and preferably closer to their home. The scheme has grown from strength to strength due to discipline and dedication of retired armed forces personnel. Large No of CPSUs/ CPSEs have reposed their faith and satisfaction in the services of these Security Agencies.
Directorate Resettlement Zone (North) (DRZN) which is part of DGR has adopted pro-active steps towards inspection and monitoring of DGR empanelled Security Agencies at Central Public Sector Units (CPSUs) to ensure retired soldiers are performing their duty with dignity and are in receipt of revised wages as per DGR guidelines. In addition interaction with CPSUs is also carried out regularly to ensure their continued sponsorship with DGR. At present 11 officers and approx 700 ESM are gainfully employed through this scheme in the state of J&K.