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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh abolishes 9,304 military engineering services posts

The Military Engineering Services are responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of all infrastructure assets of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

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military engineering services

New Delhi, May 7 : Defence Minister Rajnath Singh approved abolition of 9,304 posts in military engineering services on Thursday.

Singh approved the proposal of engineer-in-chief of Military Engineering Services (MES) for optimisation of more than 9,300 posts in the basic and industrial workforce.

“It is in line with the recommendations of the Committee of Experts, headed by Lieutenant General Shekatkar, which had recommended measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the Armed Forces,” the Defence Ministry said.

One of the recommendations made by the Committee was to restructure the civilian workforce in a manner that the work of MES could be partly done by departmentally employed staff and other work could be outsourced.

In line with the recommendations made by the Committee, based on the proposal of engineer-in-chief, MES, the proposal of abolition of 9,304 posts in MES out of the total 13,157 vacancies of the basic and industrial staff has been approved.

The recommendation was aimed at making MES an effective organisation with a “leaner workforce, well equipped to handle complex issues in the emerging scenario in an efficient and cost effective manner”.

Role of MES

Military Engineer Services is the premier construction agency and one of the pillars of Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army which provides rear line engineering support to the Armed Forces.

It is one of largest construction and maintenance agencies in India with a total annual budget of approximately Rs 13,000 crores.

It is responsible for creating the strategic and the operational infrastructure other than major roads, as also the administrative habitat for all three Services and the associated organisations of the Ministry of Defence.

It has a pan-India footprint to provide engineering support to various formations of the Army, Air Force, Navy and DRDO.

For this, the MES has over six hundred stations spread across the main land and the island territories of India.

The MES is a military organisation but has both Army and Civilian component of officers and other subordinate staff.

The organization was created over 200 years ago to execute both civil and military infrastructure.

In the 18th century, the construction organisation was a part of the Army as the Public Works Department (PWD) manned by the Indian Corps of Engineers was created under the control of a Military Board.

By 1851, the PWD came under the civil control but was responsible for both civil and military works.

In 1881, The Military Works branch of PWD was segregated and transferred to the Military Department.

The Military Works Services headed by a Director General came into being in 1889.

The “Army in India” Committee (1919-20) placed the Military Works under the Quarter Master General and the Sappers and Miners under the Chief of the General Staff.

The two engineering wings were combined under the Engineer-in- Chief. The MES was formed in December 1923 with the Engineer-in- Chief as the Head.

Initially, it comprised of personnel exclusively from Corps of Engineers, but later attained composite character by inducting civilians.

The MES functions under the overall control of the Engineer-in- Chief, who is the advisor to the Ministry of Defence and the three Services on operational and peace time construction activities.

The Military Engineering Services are responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of all infrastructure assets of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

It is structured to design works which are executed through contracts under the supervision of officers and staff consisting of both civilians and combatants from the Corps of Engineers. It has an integral multi-disciplinary team of architects, civil, electrical and mechanical engineers, structural designers, quantity surveyors and contract specialists for planning, designing and supervision of works.

The civilian cadres consists of four main cadre that is Engineering, Surveyor cadre, Architect and BSO (all being qualified engineers) and an Administrative cadre.

Health

AIIMS JPNATC MS replaced after report on journo’s death filed

The journalist worked for a Hindi daily and lived with his wife and two children in northeast Delhi”s Bhajanpura.

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Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi, July 11 : Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan ordered immediate replacement of Medical Superintendent of AIIMS Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre (JPNATC) after a 4-member inquiry committee constituted to examine the suicide of journalist Tarun Sisodiya submitted its reported.

The report submitted by the committee on Friday said that no malafide intent was found in the death of the journalist.

“Directed that an expert committee be constituted to suggest suitable changes in administration, for AIIMS as well as JPNATC. The report, along with its recommendations, shall be submitted before me by July 27, 2020,” Harsh Vardhan tweeted.

“The committee did not find any malafide intent in the death of Mr Sisodiya. It also did not find any lapses in the treatment protocol of #Covid19,” he said.

Earlier, a 37-year-old journalist undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at the AIIMS Trauma Centre in Delhi since June 24 died after allegedly jumping off the fourth floor of the hospital building on July 6.

The journalist worked for a Hindi daily and lived with his wife and two children in northeast Delhi”s Bhajanpura.

Following the incident, Union Health Minister then asked the AIIMS Director to set a panel to probe the matter.

He was making significant recovery from COVID symptoms. He earlier underwent a surgery for frontal lobe meningioma (a type of brain tumour) at the G B Pant hospital in March 2020.

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India

United Nations chief wants Sathankulam killings in Tamil Nadu investigated

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Antonio Guterres

United Nations, July 11 : UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wants the death of a father and a son from Sathankulam in Tamil Nadu while in police custody with alleged signs of torture investigated, according to his Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

“Every death of all these cases as a principle need to be fully investigated,” Dujarric said on Friday when he was asked about the deaths of P Jayaraj and his son J Fennix, allegedly due to torture by police after their arrest on June 19.

Human rights organisations have called for ensuring police accountability in India.

Human Rights Watch South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly said, “As the world responds with horror at the killing of George Floyd, it is important for authorities in India to also embark upon robust efforts to ensure police reform, accountability, and putting an end to the culture of impunity.”

The killing of Floyd by police in Minneapolis has sparked a nation-wide movement in the US that has brought out into the open long-standing tradition of police brutality against minorities. The protests have spread to several countries around the world leading to an examination of police conduct, particularly towards minorities, and demands for reforms to end impunity.

Ganguly said about the Sathankulam case, “Despite numerous court directives and arrest procedures, the two recent deaths in Tamil Nadu has exposed yet again how police officers believe not only that they have the right to ‘teach someone a lesson’, but as was reported in the magistrate’s inquiry, that they will not be held accountable.”

Amnesty International India Executive Director Avinash Kumar said, “The deaths of Jayaraj and Fennix once again signal towards India’s continuing failure to hold its police accountable.”

He noted that “according to the 2018 National Crimes Record Bureau data, Tamil Nadu accounted for the second highest deaths in custody”.

“The Tamil Nadu State government cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the torture meted out by its police officers. It must show firm resolve by punishing the police officers involved and ensuring that Jayaraj and Fennix’s families get justice.”

Although torture has been outlawed in international law for over three decades, they are still not recognized as distinct crimes under Indian law, he said.

“India signed the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment in 1997, but has not yet passed domestic legislation that will enable it to ratify the Convention,” he said.

The Prevention of Torture Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2010 but has lapsed without the Rajya Sabha passing it.

The arrest of Jayaraj and Fennix, who ran a mobile phone shop, was reportedly related to the COVID-19 regulations on store closings.

They were taken to jail in Kovilpatti and Jayaraj died on June 21 and his son the next morning with signs of torture.

Merchants in Tamil Nadu held a one-day protest and there were other sporadic protests in Tamil Nadu but demonstrations were dampened by COVID-19 restrictions.

The Madras High Court has ordered an inquiry by police and six police personnel have been charged, with at least six arrested.

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)

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India, China are partners not rivals: Chinese Ambassador

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H E Sun Weidong and JP Nadda

New Delhi, July 10 : Amid ongoing tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, Chinese Ambassador to India, H.E. Sun Weidong, on Friday said that India and China should be partner and not rivals.

Weidong released a video message talking about the recent stand-off between the two countries in Galwan region in eastern Ladakh.

The Ambassador said that the June 15 violent clash in Galwan Valley, which caused casualties on both sides, was not seen as coming by either China, or India.

Weidong also said that Chinese frontline troops were disengaging from the ground in accordance with the consensus reached.

On July 5, China”s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and India”s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had talked over the phone and reached a positive consensus on easing the border tension.

The Ambassador added that some quarters in India have raised doubts about the consensus reached by the leaders and have a wrong perception about China-India ties.

These have brought disruptions in the bilateral relations. “In this regard, it is imperative for us to clarify some fundamental points,” he said.

He pointed out that India and China should be partners rather than rivals, and both the countries have a history of friendly exchanges of more than 2,000 years.

He also said that during the Wuhan Informal Summit in 2018, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stressed that the two countries provide each other with development opportunities instead of posing threats, which the two sides should adhere to.

“This is the fundamental judgment on China-India relations charting the course for the development of our bilateral relations,” he said.

The Ambassador pointed out that he has noticed some emerging opinions in recent days, which repudiate the essence of China-India relationship due to the border-related incidents, make false assumptions about China”s intentions, exaggerate conflicts and provoke confrontation.

He said, “It is not the fact. It is harmful indeed and not helpful. China and India have jointly advocated the five principals of peaceful coexistence and uphold independent foreign policies. We should naturally see each other as positive factor in the changing global landscape and as well as partners in realising our respective dream of development.”

The Ambassador said that the two countries should not allow differences to interfere with bilateral relations.

He added that since the boundary question has been left by history, it is now necessary to find a fair and reasonable solution that is acceptable to both countries through consultation and negotiations.

“In the absence of the ultimate solution, both the countries agreed to maintain peace and tranquility in the border area,” he said.

The Ambassador pointed out that for China, peace was of paramount importance.

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