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CAG blasts defence PSUs for delays and defective items

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CAG

NEW DELHI: From failing to meet the Army’s UAVs requirements to defective and life threatening parachutes and critical quality problems in the Pinaka rocket systems, the Comptroller and Auditor General has come down heavily on India’s state-run defence research and production sector.

In a report tabled this week in Parliament, the CAG states that two types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) could not be inducted into the Army due to severe delay in their development by the DRDO. Among issues listed are problems with the airframe, engine and payload that have impacted the Army’s aerial surveillance capability. In a particular model’s case, all four trial unmanned planes were lost to crashes.

The auditor has said that Ordnance Parachute Factory Kanpur met production targets for parachutes only in five instances out of 49 analysed and faced complaints from the forces. This led to a critical shortage that adversely affected the operational preparedness of the two forces such as grounding of aircraft and efficiency of paratroopers.

The CAG also highlighted quality problems in Pinaka rockets for the Army such as excessive short ranging, bursting of rockets and burning chunks of propellants. But two Failure Analysis Boards could not pinpoint the exact problem in the manufacture of the rockets. With this, the CAG stated that the production of the rockets has not fully stabilised.

Detailing problems with the ‘Nishant’ UAVs, the CAG pointed out that they failed to meet any requirements of the Army and all four given for trials crashed within three years of receipt. “Army found it unsuitable due to its inadequacy in meeting the surveillance requirement of the Strike Corps, because of its poor mission reliability, long preparation time and defect prone quality. All the four UAVs crashed within three years of their receipt. Only one UAV ordered was replaced by the DRDO, which also crashed in November 2015 due to failure of parachute recovery system,” reads a CAG report.

In regard to parachutes, the CAG found that as the ordnance factory did not meet production targets, there were significant shortfalls in Pilot Parachute for Mirage 2000 aircraft, Pilot Parachute Chest Type, Paratrooper Tactical Assault (Main) and Brake Parachute for Sukhoi-30 aircraft.

The CAG also said that 730 parachutes valued at `10.80 crore did not achieve specified quality parameters but were passed by state run units with deviations.

“Though the users (army and air force) expressed serious concern on the nature of the defects having flight safety implication and high risk in man dropping activity, undue delays in rectification or replacement of defective items by the ordnance factory led to critical deficiencies at the user’s depot and field units,” said the reports.

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Analysis

Hindu migrants from Pakistan living a life of homeless wanderers, courtesy Indian red-tapism

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Hindu migrants from Pakistan,

Jodhpur, Aug 14 : At a time when the world is battling one of its biggest refugee crises, India has its own share of the problem — thousands of Hindu migrants from Pakistan remain stranded at this Rajasthan transit hub. They have been awaiting their citizenship papers for years, despite submitting their passports, documents and hard-earned money too.

Although the world observed International Refugee Day in June, these migrants continue to run from pillar to post to check their status as a callous Indian bureaucracy works at its own inefficient pace unmoved by their plight.

Wandering like a nomad, one of these migrants, Anumaal, told IANS: “Our lives have become deplorable since the time we came to India. The longing to be a part of this country forced me to come here. But since then, from the year 2000 in April, we have been making untiring efforts to get citizenship, but to no avail.”

“My son has completed his 12th, but he couldn’t get admission in any college as the authorities demand domicile certificates and other identity proof. Eventually, he started working as a labourer to ensure we don’t die of hunger. His future has become dark and the same will be the case with my other son who is pursuing his 12th. Eighteen years of running from here to there has failed to bring any result for us,” he lamented.

“In a camp organised in the year 2005, we missed submitting our certificate by a day. The officials asked us to come with a certificate but it being a Saturday, we reached on Monday and since then, our grievances remain unheard,” Anumaal added.

“We surrendered our passports, our forms were duly filled, and they asked us to come along with a certificate. However, when we reached on Monday, we were informed that we can’t be given citizenship as they had received fresh instructions from the government. Since then, we have been meeting district collectors… the home secretary too, but to no avail. We have exhausted all our savings to pay these officials. We have even borrowed money, which has now exhausted. Now we are asked to fill in fresh forms and deposit fresh fees. When asked about the money we had already deposited, the officials said its gone, so forget about it and make a fresh start.

“There are many people like me who are running around in distress. We were doing agriculture in Pakistan but here we are forced to work as labourers. Initially, during partition, we lost our ancestral land which was seized by residents of Pakistan. Most of the Hindus lost their lands at that time. Now this is the second time we are losing a lot. We were initially in Jaisalmer. However, we left the place a long time back because of the water crisis. It is an irony that people consider us as Pakistanis now, which is quite sad to hear,” he added.

Then there is Dr Rajkumar Sharma, who practises medicine and was whose citizenship was confirmed on June 17. He said, “We came to Jodhpur in 2004. Since then, we have been working hard to make a decent living. There are thousands like me who have come here, their passports have been submitted, but they are yet to get their citizenship. The major challenge for them is getting a long-term visa (LTV) which gets stuck in red tapism,” he added.

Sharma said that he, being educated, managed to earn his bread and butter. “But when I think of other people like me who have migrated, I have tears in my eyes. They are really suffering. People refuse to give them a house on rent or a job to earn considering them as Pakistanis. More than 1,000 people are awaiting their long-term visas,” he informed.

“I belonged to Sindh and came here as Muslims were not so kind to Hindus in Pakistan. Radicalism was growing and so was their influence. Although we had land there, we preferred coming here leaving everything as we knew that things might become challenging in the coming days for Hindus,” he said, adding: “Now, when I have got citizenship, I will try to clear the Medical Council of India examination so that I can start my practice here.”

Dr Hindu Singh Soda, an activist for Pakistani minorities living in India, said that the number of Total Registered Migrants (TRMs) at various FROs in Rajasthan is 13,623. Of them, 12,253 are at FRO Jodhpur alone. Of them, 3,408 were granted LTVs in 2017 while rest of the applications are still under process.

On paper, an LTV is supposed to be granted within 120 days of applying; but in almost all cases, these are not granted for many years, he said, adding that 965 migrants were permanently sent back to Pakistan in 2016 and 2017.

Soda said red-tapism is to be blamed for this situation. Also, the processing of LTVs needs to be hastened to ensure the migrants get justice in India — a land for which they have left everything in Pakistan, he added.

(Archana Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])

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Analysis

Kerala floods: Here’s how Twitter can save you from fake news

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iduki

New Delhi, Aug 11 (IANS) If you are in Kerala and are affected by the devastating floods, using Twitter may help you steer clear of fake news.

When communication services are limited and internet connectivity is poor, using the data-friendly “Twitter Lite” can help you connect easily with government agencies, relief organisations, media and volunteers.

One just needs to use hashtags such as #KeralaFloods, #KeralaFloods2018 to find information regarding relief operations, such as locations of relief centres.

Other hashtags such as #OpMadad can help with aid or rescue and #KeralaFloodRelief for raising funds for Kerala flood survivors.

To keep abreast with latest information, you can track Twitter “Moments” which is available in over 40 languages and can also be accessed offline.

“Moments” are curated stories showcasing the most relevant tweets for what’s happening on the micro-blogging site.

One can also create a chronological account of the situation and curate relevant tweets, which can serve as a point of reference later on.

Further, tracking government agencies like the National Disaster Response Force (@NDRFHQ) Indian Navy (@indiannavy), Press Information Bureau (@PIBIndia), the Chief Minister of Kerala (@CMOKerala), and the Indian Coast Guard (@IndiaCoastGuard) can help get the latest news from trusted sources, as and when it happens.

Avoid sharing information that you are not able to verify and after receiving the help you need, make sure you update your tweet to save time and avoid duplication of effort.

The northern and central parts of the state have been battered by heavy rains since August 8, causing one of the worst floods in its history and have until now claimed 29 lives and left 54,000 homeless.

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Analysis

Resurgence of nativism, protectionism in West disturbing: Manmohan

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New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said that resurgence of “nativism and protectionism in the West is a disturbing trend” and the “old and tried approaches may not suffice”.

“Building goodwill and peace among nations is of paramount importance,” he said after releasing a book, “Ten Ideologies – The Great Asymmetry between Agrarianism and Industrialism”, authored by his former Cabinet colleague S. Jaipal Reddy.

Singh said that in the process of writing the book, Reddy brings out that the “divisions based on race, religion, caste or colour are products of the historical periods, but cannot be accepted by holistic reading of history”.

“While alluding to the beginnings of the Industrial Age, the author has pointed out that the historical foundations for the new era were provided by China, India and West Asia, both in ancient times and medieval period,” said Singh addressing the audience at the Constitution Club of India.

“The technologies borrowed from the East helped the West in having the Renaissance, Reformation, Scientific Revolution etc. It was these intellectual movements which stimulated historical changes and new schools of thought. They were all happening at about the same time,” said Singh.

Singh further said: “The resurgence of nativism and protectionism in the West is a disturbing trend. Old and tried approaches may not suffice. We should not hesitate to think afresh.

“While doing so, the paramount thing is to build goodwill and peace among nations. In this context, the conflict of mindsets of Agrarian and Industrial eras that Sri Jaipal Reddy focuses upon is relevant.”

Singh also said he was reminded of his Cambridge days as he went through the book.

“As I went through the book and came across the ideas of masterly thinkers, I have been reminded of my own Cambridge days.

“It is like going back to basics. I have enjoyed this refreshing experience and benefited by it. I am happy to note that Jaipal Reddy is trying to build a new approach to meet the current crises in the world. This is what we should focus on,” he said.

Praising Reddy, Singh further said: “Although he has been a professional politician, he has proved to be an intellectual as well. I hope and trust that this will set a new trend in Indian politics.”

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