Thursday, December 19, 2013

Weight-loss surgery free for Central Govt Employees

Weight-loss surgery free for Central Govt Employees

NEW DELHI: The growing demand for weight-loss surgeries from sarkari babus has forced the Centre to include the procedure, long considered a lifestyle choice, in the central government health scheme (CGHS) list. It will now be available free of cost to those covered under the government scheme at select hospitals.

According to the Union health ministry, guidelines of the US National Institute of Health will be used for select candidates for the procedure. The government has fixed a package rate of Rs 2.25 lakh per person for such a surgery. In India, an estimated 200 million people suffer from weight-related issues. According to Dr Praveen Bhatia, executive member of Obesity Surgery Society of India, close to 2,000 persons undergo weight loss surgery every year. Bariatric surgery involves stapling of a portion of the stomach to reduce a person's appetite.

"The decision has been taken in view of the increasing number of requests for bariatric surgery, commonly known as weight-loss surgery," said a senior health ministry official. He said that till date there no guidelines for consideration of weight-loss surgery under the CGHS scheme and the requests were considered on merits of each case.

The new guidelines provide for reimbursement of surgery charges to patients who have BMI more than or equal to 40 kg/m2. If the person has obesity related co-morbidities, for example hypertension, cardio-vascular disease and diabetes, then surgery can be considered even if the BMI is more than or equal to 35 kg/m2.

The BMI of a healthy individual is anywhere between 18-23 kg/m2, said Dr Deep Goel, director, department of minimal access, bariatric surgery at B L Kapoor Hospital. "The government seems to have finally realised that weight-loss surgery is not a mere cosmetic procedure. It is a life-saver for very obese patients," said Dr Pradeep Chowbey, director, Max Institute of minimal access, metabolic and bariatric surgery.

"The decision will help those unable to afford the procedure on their own. Also, it will force private insurance companies to re-think their policy against reimbursement for weight loss surgery," Dr Bhatia, who chairs the bariatric surgery unit at Sir Ganga Ram hospital, added.

Experts, however, warn that people should not rush to undergo the surgery just because it will be reimbursed or they want to look better. "We get many patients who seek to undergo the procedure to look better or youngsters seeking to get married. One needs to think over the consequences of surgery and diet restrictions before deciding to undergo the same. Also, a wrong surgery conducted by an inexperienced doctor can put the patient at risk for leak and death," said another senior doctor.

Click here to view Guidelines and Ceiling Rates for Permission/Reimbursement for Bariatric Surgery Procedures under CGHS/CS(MA) Rules

7th CPC News - Cabinet proposal soon to constitute 7th Pay Commission

7th CPC News - Cabinet proposal soon to constitute 7th Pay Commission

Cabinet proposal soon to constitute 7th Pay Commission

The central government is likely to constitute the 7th Pay Commission for revising the salaries of its over 50 lakh employees before the start of process of next general elections due in May, 2014.

“The Finance Ministry is working out a Cabinet proposal for constitution of the 7th Pay Commission which could be taken up for consideration in the next couple of weeks,” a source said.

According to information available, the government’s intention to constitute 7th Pay Commission before going for polls is clear as it has made provision of Rs. 3.5 crore in the second supplementary demands for grants in this regard which was approved by Parliament in the just concluded Winter Session.

Earlier in September this year, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had announced that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has approved setting up of the 7th Pay Commission.

According to the announcement, the Commission will be mandated to submit its report in two years time and its recommendations would be implemented from January 1, 2016.

However, after that announcement, no formal proposal was put up before the Union Cabinet for constitution of the Commission.

As per the practice, the Commission is headed by a former Supreme Court Judge and its other members would include experts and officials.

Meanwhile, the government is also believed to have approved fixing minimum pension of Rs 1,000 per month under the Employees’ Pension Scheme 1995 (EPS-95) run by retirement fund body Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).

The government is also understood to have cleared maximum basic wage ceiling of Rs. 15,000 per month for deduction of Provident Fund from existing Rs. 6,500 per month for private sector workers, in general, covered under schemes run by EPFO.

Keywords: Seventh Pay Commission, cabinet proposal, constitution of 7th Pay commission, P. Chidambaram, Manmohan Singh

Source: The Hindu

Achievements of Ministry of Defence During the Year 2013 - PIB Report

Achievements of Ministry of Defence During the Year 2013 - PIB Report

Press Information Bureau 
Government of India
Ministry of Defence

19-December, 2013 14:53 IST

Achievements of Ministry of Defence During the Year 2013 
Reaching out to innumerable victims of the devastating flash floods & landslides of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh that struck on 16/17th  June by mounting the biggest ever Rescue & Relief operations in these two States by the Indian Armed Forces was the most visible achievement of the year. The eventful year also saw augmentation of Nation’s defence preparedness by adding new weapon. In defence R&D, successful test flight of 5000 Km range ICBM Agni-V, launching of long-range cruise missile Nirbhoy and continued successful user trials of Agni-II, Agni-III, Agni-IV, Prithvi-II, Supersonic BrahMos and Beyond Visual Range missile “Astra” during the year displayed the nation’s prowess and self-reliance in advanced missile technology development programme.

The year also witnessed capacity building in existing and new strategic areas through acquisitions and development of new weapons / platforms which include commissioning of India’s biggest aircraft carrier 44,500 tonne capacity INS Vikramaditya on 16th November, preceded by the  launching of India’s own IAC-INS Vikrant and commissioning of deadly Mig-29K squadron into the Indian Navy. Similarly, induction of first P-8I Boeing aircraft into the Navy alongwith joining of C-17 Globemaster-III and Pilatus PC-7MKII aircraft into the Indian Air Force consolidated our hold in different strategic, logistics and training arena. The nuclear reactor fitted in the indigenous nuclear powered submarine INS Arihant, in the making, attaining criticality also pointed towards this end. The year gone by also saw systematic force projection of our Armed Forces in India’s neighborhood and far off Asian Region by engaging them through military exercises and defence diplomacy, when Indian Navy perhaps undertook a record number of exercises with foreign Navies to build Navy to Navy co-operation, understanding and inter-operability. The Indian Army and IAF also supplemented these efforts by undertaking a number of military exercises with their friendly foreign counterparts. In this context  our prowess in fire powers, anti-terrorist operations and network centric  warfare were amply demonstrated by IAF exercises ‘Iron Fist’ and ‘Live Wires’ and Army’s biggest  war game exercises Indra and Indo-French exercises ‘Shakti-2013’.
The nation achieved spectacular progress in strengthening  coastal security network, ex-servicemen’s welfare, and its journey towards modernisation and indigenization of Indian defence industry complex by adopting a policy of ‘Swadeshi’ where transparency and accountability were the hallmarks.
Along with these highs, there were some lows too. The sudden and unprovoked attack from the Pakistan Army in the guise of armed infiltration in the Line of Control in Poonch and later in Keran sector of J&K brought disquiet into the region. Though our soldiers retaliated these recurrent attacks with full force at their command, yet there was no stopping of ceasefire violations from Pakistan side, which kept happening almost all through the year. The thaw in India-China border relations was also broken in April when Indian Army was once again challenged by China’s Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) by their repeated incursions into Ladakh Sector on the LAC. Thankfully after the face –off between the troops on both sides for nearly one month, both sides simultaneously withdrew from the contentious areas of LAC in this sector.
The devastating fire accident in our frontline submarine INS Sindhurakshak and it’s going down under the sea in Mumbai Naval Dockyard in August this year was another big loss to the Indian Navy. The Board of Inquiry instituted by the Government to find out the cause of this mishap hopefully will look into all angles of the accident and suggest measures so that the same is not repeated in the fighting arm of the Navy.
Reaching out to the People in Distress
A cloud burst and torrential rain took thousands of tourists and pilgrims by surprise in Uttarakhand & Himachal Pradesh in the third week of June. Immediately, the Armed Forces were called by the state Government of these two states for rescuing its citizens and tourists from some of the most dangerous terrains devastated by floods & landslides. Within no time, the Forces sprang into action and launched the biggest rescue operation conducted by the defence and para-military forces anywhere in the world. The troops from Central Command of the Army launched the biggest rescue and relief operation ‘Rahat’ in collaboration with ITBP, BRO and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on June 17. Sensing the gravity of the situation, IAF mobilised 54 transport aircrafts and helicopters for rescue efforts, which also included stationing a gigantic strategic airlifter C-17 Super Hercules in Jolly Grant, Dehradun airfield to evacuate the stranded tourists and general people to safer places. Indian Navy also deployed its marine commandos on 25th June, which with foot soldiers of the Army, rescued hundreds of pilgrims and evacuated thousands to safer places.
Our Armed Forces’ laudable role and conduct of operations to minimise the effects of cyclone ‘Phailin’, which struck the Odisha & Andhra Pradesh Coast in the fateful evening of 12th October also came for universal praise and commendation from all quarters.
New Milestones in Defence R&D
Agni –V: India reiterated its expertise in high end missile technology when the second test flight of over 5000 Km Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) Agni-V proved successful on 15th September. The missile designed by the DRDO and launched from Wheeler Island  off Odisha Coast reached the pre-designed target point, over 5000 Km away, in the Indian Ocean, incorporated many indigenous technologies. These include the composite rocket motor, state-of-the-art avionics, 5th generation on-board computer distributed architecture, highly accurate laser Gyro-based Inertial Navigation System (RINS), reliable redundant micro-navigation system and the re-entry kit shield that withstands temperature of more than 4000 degrees Celsius ensuring that avionics function smoothly by maintaining an inside temperature less than 50 degrees Celsius.
After successful test firing of Agni-V, DRDO now aims for 10,000 Km range Inter –Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which according to its Chief would be preceded by above 6000  Km range Agni-VI to be launched soon.
In the meantime the training and user trials of Agni-II, Agni-III and Agni-IV of varying ranges as well as supersonic 300 Km range BrahMos and Prithvi–II have been successfully accomplished in the year. All these missiles which were tested by the users, the Strategic Forces Command of Indian Army, in the presence of scientists and engineers of DRDO and other collaborating laboratories.
LCA programme finally out of woods: The much awaited and long-delayed indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project for the Indian Air Force undertaken by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) with its tech partner DRDO finally will see the light of the day, as its initial operational clearance-II is scheduled on 20th December to be held at HAL, Bangalore.
The LCA ‘Tejas’, a fourth generation fighter aircraft is meant to meet the versatile and stringent requirements of the Indian Air Force as its front-line multi mission aircraft. Besides developing the fighter version, Aeronautics Development Agency (ADA), the main lab for DRDO incharge of designing and making this metal bird, is also now fully engaged in developing LCA Trainer for IAF and LCA Navy Trainer.  
 The weaponisation programme, the focus of the current IOC phase of LAC attained a significant milestone by the successful and flawless firing of the air-to-air close combat missile, weapon carriage and release trials. Recently, initial block of flight testing of LCA Naval variant (NP-1) has been successfully completed. Successful Night Flying of LCA has been yet another achievement. Thus the programme is moving towards certification leading to Final Operational Clearance (FOC), which is expected towards the end of next year.
INS Vikrant Launched: India launched its first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant on August 12 at Kochi marking the end of Phase-I (IAC-I) of the project. The imposing ramp of the 37,500 tonner Short Take Off But Assisted Recovery (STOBAR) carrier boasted indigenous design and built capabilities of the country.
Atomic Reactor of ‘Arihant’ went critical: In adding another feather to its crown of superior state-of-the-art nuclear technology, Indian defence scientists and technologists successfully activated the atomic reactor on board INS Arihant in early August. The next major milestone would be when Arihant begins its trials, which has been planned for September 2014. The nuclear submarine will go for extensive trials before it becomes operational with the Indian Navy.
New Weaponary/Platforms to Strengthen Defence Preparedness
INS Vikramaditya: India finally commissioned its second aircraft carrier 44,500 tonne INS Vikramaditya into the Indian Navy at the Sevmash Shipyard in Severodvinsk in Russia on 16th November when Defence Minister Shri AK Antony commissioned the carrier after its extensive refurbishment and refit over the past few years. The Carrier, in its previous avtar as Admiral Gorshkov, can carry over 30 combat aircraft/helicopters and has the staying power of operating nearly 45 days in high seas with its 1600 crew & officers. It is equipped with long range Air Surveillance Radars, Advanced electronic warfare suite capable of maintaining a surveillance bubble of over 500 Kms around it. The deadly Mig -29K deep penetration striker aircraft, Kamov-31, Sea Harriers and ALH Dhruv helicopters comprise its air element. The ship is also equipped with the state-of-the-art launch and recovery system along with aids to enable smooth and efficient operation of sea-borne aircraft. The carrier which is now sailing towards India is expected to arrive in mid February 2014 and will be based at Karwar Naval Base in the Western Coast.
C-17 Globemaster III
Giving impetus to the long standing strategic airlift of the Indian Air Force, the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III was formally inducted into the IAF on 02 September at Hindon Airbase near Delhi. Four of the C-17 have been already delivered to the IAF and the fifth aircraft joined the fleet in November.
Pilatus PC 7 MK II Basic Trainer Inducted
The IAF’s premier flying Academy located at Dundigal, Hyderabad witnessed the unveiling of Pilatus PC7MKII basic trainer aircraft, which heralded a new era in imparting high quality flying training to budding pilots ensuring proficiency in handling more sophisticated aircraft.
Boeing P-8I Arrives at INS Rajali
The first of the three Boeing P-8I aircraft for the Indian Navy arrived at INS Rajali, Arakonam on 15th May. The P-8I aircraft based on the Boeing 737-800(NG) airframes is equipped with an array of sensors for maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine operations and for electronic intelligence missions. The aircraft has drawn its lethality from its arsenal of highly potent Anti-Surface and Anti-Submarine weapons.
Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) inducted
The Indian Navy inducted the first fully Indian manufactured Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) at INS Dega, Vishakhapatnam on 06 November.
ALH–Dhruv Squadron Commissioned
The first Advanced Light Helicopter (Dhruv) Squadron was commissioned into the Navy at Kochi on 12 November.
Mig -29K Squadron Commissioned
INAS 303, the first Mig 29K squadron was commissioned on 11th May 2013 by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony at INSA Hansa, Goa. Mig-29K, arguably one of the best in the subcontinent today is equipped with high-end avionics completed with anti-aircraft beyond visual range missiles, guided anti-ship missile and smart guided bombs and rockets.
Launching of GSAT-7  satellite
Launching of GSAT-7, a dedicated communication satellite for the Indian Navy on 30 August gave a boost to realization of Navy’s network centric war capability based on an indigenous platform. With multiple transponders in various frequency bands, the satellite will provide voice and data communication and hence will help in seamless integration among the various command centres and Naval Units operating across the IOR.
INS Sarayu Commissioned
INS Sarayu, the lead ship of the indigenous Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel (NOPV) Project was commissioned on 21 January. Aimed at meeting the increasing ocean surveillance and patrolling requirements of the Indian Navy, the primary role of the ship is to undertake EEZ surveillance, anti-piracy patrols, fleet support operations and provide maritime security to offshore assets and carry out escort operations for high value assets.
INS Trikand Commissioned
INS Trikand, the last of the three ‘follow on Talwar class’ frigates was commissioned into the Indian Navy at Kaliningrad, Russia on 29 June. It carries a state-of-the-art combat suite which includes the supersonic BrahMos Missile system, advanced surface-to-air missile, upgraded A190 medium range gun, Electro-optical 30mm close-in weapon system and Anti-submarine weapons and an advanced electronic warfare system. Her sister ships INS Teg and INS Tarkash were commissioned last year.
IAF- launches its 3G WCDMA Cellular Network Project
The Indian Air Force launched its 3G Cellular Network named AFCEL (Air Force Cellular) recently, thereby, becoming the first in the Services to have commissioned its own captive 3G network. Launching of phase-I of AFCEL in the National Capital Region is a milestone in the IAF’s transformation into a modern, networked aerospace entity with full spectrum dominance. With this project IAF has taken a quantum leap forward to their quest to provide mobile and secure entry-point connectivity to the air warriors deployed across the length and breadth of the country as it will facilitate real time exchange of information in an ever dynamic operational environment.
International Co-operation through Exercises & Defence Co-op. Talks
During the year, the Indian Army, to develop Army to Army understanding and inter-operability, conducted bilateral exercises with China, France, UK, Russia and Nepal. India-China joint exercises Hand-in-Hand 2013 conducted in Chengdu Province of China culminated on 13 Nov. This battalion level exercise practiced the joint operations on Cordon & Search in international scenario. Exercise ‘Ajeya Warrior’, a four week Indo-UK joint military exercise, also aimed at enhancing counter terrorism skills. In October Indian and Russian armies conducted a joint exercise, Indra, at Mahajan field firing range in Thar Desert of Rajasthan. The event saw both sides perform various combat exercises including anti-terrorist operations. It also saw a joint Indo-Russian command planning. A joint exercise between India and the French armies was organised from September 9-20 in the French Alps at Grenoble.
As friendly neighbours, an Indo-Nepal battalion level joint military exercise, Surya Kiran-V was conducted at Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand from 23 September - 06 October.
Based on the agreement during the 7th Nepal-India Bilateral Consultative Group on Security the two countries commenced joint training at platoon level in 2011. The first two joint exercises focused primarily on jungle warfare and counter-insurgency operation. Troops shared their experiences and exhibited skill sets during training at Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School at Vairangate in Mizoram and a similar school at Amlekhganj in Nepal. Later, the joint training was upgraded to company level in 2012 and based on experiences gained in previous two exercises, it was further upgraded to battalion level this year.
In a bid to further strengthen the existing Indo-French relationship, a joint exercise between India and the French Army called ‘Shakti – 2013’ was organised from 9 – 20 September at Jodhpur which is the second joint military exercise between the two countries.
This platoon level exercise’s theme was on counter-insurgency operations in high altitude mountainous terrain under the UN Charter, thus emphasizing the shared concern of both countries about global terrorism. An added aim of the exercise is to qualitatively acknowledge of each other’s military procedures, thus increasing the scope for inter-operability and better responsiveness to a common threat. 
Record Exercises with Foreign Navies
In its endeavour to build Navy to Navy co-operation, understanding and inter-operability, the Indian Navy held military exercises with Navies of numerous friendly countries. These included:
  • CORPAT – These Co-ordinated Patrols (CORPAT) with maritime neighbours of India not only strengthened naval co-operation with our neighbours but also helped in developing trust and confidence among participant countries. 
  • First India –Myanmar Navy Co-ordinated Patrol in March 13 with the aim of flushing out extremists operating from Myanmar soil and Navy-to-Navy understanding was successfully conducted.
  • Indo-Thai bilateral naval exercise in April and November.
  • India-Indonesia bilateral naval exercise in May and September.
  • India-RSN (Republic of Singapore Navy) exercise SIMBEX in May.
  • Bilateral naval exercise ‘Naseem Al Bahar’ between India and Royal Navy of Oman on 11 September.
  • Indo-UK exercise ‘Konkan’ in October.
  • Indo-US naval exercise ‘Malabar’ in November.
  • India-Sri Lankan Navy exercise ‘SLINEX’ in November.
  • Naval exercise between India and Japan Maritime Self Defence Forces in December.
  • India-Brazil-South Africa Maritime Exercise ‘IBSA mar’ was conducted among Indian, Brazilian and South African Navies in the IOR. The exercise is the maritime element of the regional co-operation initiative among these three countries.

Exercise on the anvil
The 13th Meeting of India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Technical Co-operation (IRIGC-MTC) was held at Moscow in November co-chaired by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony with his Russian counterpart Mr. Sergey Shiogu. The meeting which gave a new impetus to the relationship decided that the two countries will hold joint Air-Force level exercises, for the first time besides a joint Navy exercise in the Peter the Great Bay in the Sea of Japan, both in 2014.
IAF under Transformation 
As the Indian Air Force (IAF) celebrates its 81st anniversary, it is conscious of the transformation it has been undergoing since 1995 where it wrote its first war doctrine, purchased Sukhoi-30 aircraft from Russia, raised the pitch for aerospace command and formally shed its tactical role for a strategic one.
      Keeping in view the rapidly changing geo-political situation and to fulfil its new operational stance, the IAF has taken a number of steps related to its force level, infrastructure development, force multipliers, training and most importantly its mindset  from a tactical to a strategic entity.
Besides inducting AWACS and AEW&C for better early warning and assured air defence, net centricity for better command, control, communications, computers and intelligence gathering, better strategic lift capabilities and advanced electronic warfare, are now the buzz words in the IAF.
In addition to tying up with Russia to develop and manufacture state-of-the-art 5th Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), India has also collaborated with Russia for development of a multi-role transport aircraft. The design preparation and allied works relating to FGFA has picked up the momentum after satisfactory high level defence talks with Russia which was held in Moscow in November. Besides these, IAF has planned to upgrade select Mig-21 Bis, Mig-27, Mig-29, Mirage-2000 and Jaguar fleets and has taken steps to further compress the delivery schedule of HAL Built Su-30 MK-II, besides 40 more acquired from Russia.
Developing Strategic Partnership
Working in tune with its ‘Look East Policy’, India has started forging strategic partnership with countries of Far East and ASEAN. In this context, India’s willingness to co-operate with Vietnam Republic in helping it exploring oil from the South China Sea is significant. Similarly its relations with Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Maldives, Nepal and Afghanistan is steadily growing through bi-lateral exercises and fruitful defence co-operation talks in the form of defence exchanges, training and other areas.
India’s bilateral defence ties with US, UK, France, Turkey, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Iran, Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Oman etc. is growing over the years. Indo-French High Committee on Defence Co-operation which met in October this year decided to further strength the ties in different fields which include joint research & development in high technology and transfer of technology, defence equipment collaboration, training and close navy-to-navy interaction in matters like joint exercises and defence exchanges. Already France is committed to manufacture and handover of three state-of-the-art lethal Scorpene submarines and another three will be built at Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mumbai with active French collaboration and TOT.
Coastal Security Initiatives
Drawing lessons from 26/11 terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008, the Govt. took a number of security measures to close the gaps in India’s vast coastline and strengthen the coastal security apparatus in a planned manner by involving all stakeholders in this endeavour. Under Phase-I of the Coastal Surveillance Network Project installation of 36 radar chain to have a gap free Coastal Surveillance Network (CSN) was envisaged. In the first Phase of the project, the coastal States/UTs were provided with 73 coastal police stations, 97 Check Posts, 58 Out Posts, 30 Barracks, 204 boats, 153 jeeps and 312 motorcycles.
The completion of the phase-I of the project at a cost of Rs. 646 crores on the Indian mainland took place when MoS, Defence, Mr Jitendra Singh inaugurated the static sensor chain at Visakhapatnam on 23 November. India has already a chain of 36 radars along the Maharashtra, Gujarat and Kerala coast.
In the phase-II of CSN which will cost Rs. 1580 crores, we will have another 38 radars chain to cover the rest of the 7,500 Km long coastline. The Indian Coast Guard was delegated to implement the project. For this, the Govt. had signed the contract with the state owned Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) in Sept 2011 at a cost of Rs 602 crores considering the strategic nature of the turnkey project and with an aim to develop indigenous capabilities. Under this scheme, the coastal States/UTs interalia are provided with 131 coastal police stations, 10 Marine Operation Police Centres (MOCPs), 60 jetties, 225 boats of various categories and a lump sum assistance of Rs. 15 lakhs per coastal police station to develop its infrastructure. 
Linking up the National Automatic Identification System Network (AIS) and Vessel Traffic System (VTS) off Gulf of Khambat with the Coastal Security Network would help the security forces in identifying a friend or foe in the Indian waters.
Of late, a worrisome trend is the problem of tackling the issue of Private Armed Security Guards on board Commercial ships in international waters as well as territorial waters. The urgent need to regulate these ‘floating armouries’ has assumed significance in the backdrop of two recent incidents close to Indian Coast. A high level meeting on Coastal Security convened at Delhi by the MoD recently decided to take up this issue of Private Armed Security Guards with international fora such as International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Welfare of Jawans & Ex-Servicemen
Welfare and all-round well being of ex-servicemen and war widows have been the cornerstone of our rehabilitation policy since independence.
In our ongoing effort to improve the well being of jawans, the govt has further widened the scope of ECHS (Employees Contributed Health Scheme) and established more polyclinics and regional health centres. To improve the living and working conditions of jawans, several steps have been taken to improve the quality of rations, accommodations and clothing. For soldiers deployed in high altitude areas, warm clothings, special shoes and attractive monthly compensatory allowances have been provided. To protect the officers, jawans and other ranks posted in very high altitudes from mental and physical fatigue, liberal leave facilities as well as rotation of personnel at regular intervals have been given high priority. To reduce the stress levels of jawans so as to avoid stray cases of fragging and fratricide, Counselling Centres have been established at different levels manned by professional psychologists and psychiatrists starting from unit to command level.
MAP:- To overcome the acute shortage of accommodation for serving  defence personnel, Married Accommodation  Project (MAP) was started by the Govt. in 2002. In this project, totalling two lakh dwelling units (DUs) were supposed to have been constructed. After implementation of Phase-I of the project, approximately 60,000 dwelling units have been constructed. This has enhanced the satisfaction level with regard to availability of married accommodation to 60%. In the second phase of MAP, construction of about 68,400 DUs is going on at different places and on their completion, satisfaction level will increase to 72%. In addition, construction of 71,000 DUs of Phase-III is now under planning. On completion of all the phases of the project, the satisfaction levels will reach 85%.
For ex-servicemen welfare, Govt. has taken a number of steps to further improve their pension. For this, a high level committee was constituted by the Govt. in 2012 to look after the pay and pension anomalies of armed forces personnel and family pensions etc. Acting upon the recommendations of the committee, the Govt. further liberalised the pension amount for different types of ex-servicemen pensioners last year which costs the exchequer of approximately Rs 2200 crores.
1.      To give further encouragement to promote indigenisation and developing Indian defence industrial base in the country, the Government promulgated amended Defence Procurement Procedure 2013 on 01 June, where a number of concessions and priorities have been given to ‘Buy Indian’ and ‘Buy and Make’  (Indian) categories, besides bringing further clarity in the definition of the Indigenous Content and simplifying the Buy and Make (Indian) process. Other significant changes include incorporation of the new offset policy guidelines which were promulgated in August 2012 and revision of the chapter on Ship-building which had been introduced in the DPP 2011. The Ministry has also undertaken the exercise of further simplification of the Make procedures and revision of the Fast Track Procedures which is likely to be completed in the near future.  
2.      Indian Air Force formally bade farewell to its Mig-21 (FL) fleet, after the fleet’s glorious service to the nation for more than thirty years, in December this year. Their place will be filed up by the LCA fighter version in near future.
3.      India signed the much awaited Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDC) with China during the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s visit to China in October. The agreement is expected to bring in a relatively peaceful and intrusion free LAC in the northern sector. The agreement lays out a protocol to prevent incidents like intrusion, when Chinese troops came and pitched tents inside Indian territories in August/September.
4.      On July 02, 2013, India unveiled the much awaited National Cyber Security Policy to create a secure cyber eco-system in the country. 
5.      Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Rajdoot’, the sixth in the series of light Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPVs) designed and built by M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata was commissioned at Kolkata in May 2013.
6.      The Naresh Chandra Task Force constituted by the Govt. on national security and higher defence management submitted its recommendations, where among others, it has recommended to create the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in the Indian Armed Forces.
7.      The first NCC National Games was held in Delhi in November where 1900 boys and girls athletes from 17 NCC directorates, from all the States and Union Territories took part. The eight day long Games was inaugurated by the DG, NCC Lt. Gen P.S. Bhalla amidst much grandeur and fanfare.
8.      The foundation stone for India’s first National Defence University (INDU) was laid by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in Binola, near Gurgaon in May 23, 2013 in the presence of high dignitaries including the Defence Minister.
9.      INAS ‘HANSA’ in Goa celebrated its diamond jubilee on 11th May, 2013.
10. First Passing Out Parade at the newly established Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala in Kerala was held on 25th May, 2013.
11. Indian Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) ICGS ‘VAIBHAV’ was commissioned on May 21, 2013.
12. Defence Minister Shri AK Antony dedicated to the Nation the new Air Force Station at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu on 27th May 2013 where a special runway has been made for the operation of Su-30 MK-I fighter aircraft.
13. Defence Minister visited Maldives in April 2013.
14. Defence Minister visited Myanmar on January 21, 2013.
15. Commissioning of Indian Coast Guard Ship Rajkamal was held in 08 January 2013.
16. Govt. orders a CBI probe into Augusta Westland Contract for 12 VVIP Helicopters on 12 February 2013.
17. The 9th edition of Asia’s biggest air show ‘Aero-India’ -2013 took place in Bangalore in February 2013, where 44 countries took part. Defence Minister Shri AK Antony inaugurated this mega event where in the Air show vintage Tiger Moth aircraft made its flight appearance after a gap of 22 years.
18. HAL formally handed over to Army the weaponised edition of ALH-Dhruv as ‘ALH MK-IV Rudra’ on 08 February 2013 at Bangalore.
19. Commissioning of Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Rajratan’ held on 11 February 2013.
20. Chinese Defence Minister with a delegation visited India on 22nd March 2013 and India-China Talks on Defence co-operation held in Delhi.
21. Indian Navy concludes theatre level exercise Tropex-13 on 02 March 2013.
Source: PIB News

Issue of Intimation under section 143(1) of Income tax act, 1961 - Income Tax Department

Issue of Intimation under section 143(1) of Income tax act, 1961 - Income Tax Department

Instruction No.18th/2013

F.No. 225/196/2013-ITA.II
Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue (CBDT)

North Block, New Delhi
dated the 17th of December, 2013
All Chief Commissioners of Income Tax
All Directors General of Income Tax

Subject: - Issue of Intimation under section 143(1) of Income-tax Act, 1961 beyond time-regarding.

Several instances have come to the notice of the Board where due to certain technical or other reasons (which inter-alia included wrong migration of PAN and delayed release of returns by the Centralized Processing Cell to the jurisdictional authorities), intimation in refund cases could not be sent to the concerned assessees within the time-frame as prescribed in second proviso to sub-section (1) of section 143 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (‘Act’). This has caused grievances as assessees are unable to get their legitimate refunds in accordance with provisions of Act, although the delay is not attributable to them.

2. The matter has been examined. Central Board of Direct Taxes, by virtue of power vested in it under section 119(2)(a) of the Act, hereby relaxes the time-frame prescribed in second proviso to sub-section(1) of section 143 of the Act in those cases where the return-of-income was filed by the assessee in accordance with provisions of section 139/142(1) of the Act, but due to technical or other reasons not attributable to such assessees, the date of sending intimation under section 143(1) of the Act has lapsed before 01-04-2013. In suchcases, Central Board of Direct Taxes directs that such returns shall be processed and intimation of processing of such returns shall be sent to the assessee concerned by the Assessing Officer in accordance with provisions of section 143 of the Act notwithstanding the time-limit prescribed in second proviso to sub-section (1) of that section.

3. The progress of disposal of such cases shall be monitored by the Addl./ Joint CIT.

4. It is reiterated that this Instruction shall only apply to those cases where a valid return-of-income was filed as per provisions of the Act with refund claim, but the same remained pending beyond the prescribed date due to reasons not attributable to the assessee. Further, this relaxation shall not be applicable to those cases where either Demand is shown as payable in the return-of-income or as a result of processing beyond the date as prescribed in second proviso to sub-section (1) of section 143, Demand isdetermined as payable.

5. This should be immediately brought to the notice of all officers working in your region.

Yours faithfully,
(Rohit Garg)
Deputy Secretary to the Government of India


Guidelines for conducting Pension Adalats

Guidelines for conducting Pension Adalats

 1. Objective
The intention of conducting Pension Adalats is to look into the grievances of Pensioners so as to redress the same by taking on-the-spot decisions there by reducing the delays, if any, in the settlement of their legitimate dues. This kind of interaction with the Pensioners would instill in them a sense of being cared for and attended to, thus, dispelling their feelings of isolation and neglect. It will also give an idea of the kind of problems/difficulties that are being faced by the pensioners and help in identifying the areas of concern in policy that require our urgent attention for amendment, etc.

2. Frequency, Date and Time
2.1 Pensioners’ Adalats may he held twice around January and July every year. Venue and date will he fixed by the concerned organization in consultation with the stakeholders and notified through advertisements inleading newspapers/other media. For this purpose, the following time frame may be adopted:

(a) Issue of notice by respective organisations through print and visual media and other means about holding of Pension Adalats indicating date, venue, time of Adalat and the name of Officer to whom the grievances have to be submitted.At least 4 months in advance of the proposed date of Adalat.

(b) Last date for submission of grievances by Pensioners, which should be indicated in the Notification mentioned above.Within 90 days from the date of issue of notice.

2.2 About 4 to 6 weeks time is considered adequate to investigate most of the complaints/representations though some cases may take a little longer. However, keeping in view the fact that the aim of the Adalat is to promote credibility and generate confidence amongst the pensioners, the last date for receiving the complaints/representations to be heard in the Adalat may be suitably fixed and announced at the time of giving the publicity. Only one officer will be nominated to receive the complaints/representations. The officer to whom the complaints/representations should be sent will also he indicated in the advertisement.

3. Publicity for the Adalat
3.1 Wide and adequate publicity through print and visual media and other means like posters at prominent places, may be given in advance to enable the pensioners to send their cases in time for consideration in such Adalats. Doordarshan and A.I.R. can also be requested to telecast/broadcast the same through appropriate programmes. This is considered necessary, as reference to various records is very often essential before a grievance can be considered/redressed.

3.2 The most important aspect of the publicity campaign is to reach out to the individual pensioners. For this purpose a set of hand outs, posters and press releases may be prepared and sent to the following agencies three months in advance. Bank branches, Post Offices and Treasury Offices for display at their respective premises. Respective organizations at regional level for display at their premises and other crucial points.
Pensioner’s Associations & Leagues of pensioners at the station of the Adalat and its adjoining states for dissemination of information to the pensioners. Special efforts for publicity in the interior villages may be made by the respective organizations located at the station of the Adalat, which are also expected to liaise with the local print and electronic media. For publicity of the Adalat for the information of Pensioners, press releases be issued in various print and electronic media in local/regional languages.

The above exercise may be repeated through several rounds of press releases to above mentioned agencies.

4. Admissibility of cases in Pension Adalats
4.1 Cases involving purely legal points e.g. succession, etc., cannot he taken up in the Adalat. This aspect need to be adequately publicized.

4.2 Grievances involving policy matters need not he taken up in such Adalats.

4.3 In the cases of grievances not being tenable, the Pensioners may be suitably advised in writing.

4.4 Normally, no case should be held up for the sake of consideration/decision in the Adalat unless the delay is absolutely inescapable.

5. Advance action
5.1 The representalions/grievances of Pensioners may be acknowledged indicating the date, venue and time of Pension Adalat.

5.2 The concerned Officers will examine the grievances/representations admitted and submit necessary reports at least two weeks before the Adalalt meets, to the members of the Adalat. The grievances/representations may be examined in detail and prompt action to finalize the cases be taken. Wherever necessary, liaison may be done with other concerned agencies for prompt settlements of the grievances. The cases which do not fall within the scope of the Adalat, will he required to be communicated to complainants indicating the result of enquiry/investigation, ete. and the decision taken thereon.

6. Representation in Pension Adalats
6.1 All Officers dealing with pension viz. Senior Officers of Personnel/Administrative Branch and Accounts Department and Managers of the pension-disbursing Banks from Zonal or Divisional Headquarters should be present with all the relevant records so that decisions are not postponed for the sake of referring to the records.

6.2 The Officers present in the Pension Adalats should be able to take decisions on the spot to redress the grievances. In this connection it is pertinent to note that such meetings are not to take up policy matters but they should deal with specific grievances of the individual pensioner, when represented by him personally or by a family member of the Pensioner.

6.3 The authorized representatives of the Standing Committee of Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA) and the recognized Trade Unions/Pensioner Associations may also be invited to attend the Pension Adalats. But they should not be permitted to present the grievances of the Pensioners.
6.4 However, in the case of illiterate Pensioners, widows, minors etc. it may not be possible for them to effectively prepare and present cases before the Adalat. In such cases, if the pensioner/family pensioner seeks the assistance of the representatives of the SCOVA / Pensioners Associations attending the Adalat, the SCOVA/Pensioners Associations representatives may be permitted to present the grievances of such pensioners/family pensioners. It may so happen that the Office bearers of the SCOVA/Trade Union/Pensioners Associations may not be available when Pension Adalats are held on different dates, at different places. In such cases even the representatives of SCOVA / Trade Unions/Pensioners Association, as authorized by the SCOVA/Trade Unions/Pensioners Associations and whose credentials are sent in advance to the concerned Organization, may be allowed to attend the Pension Adalats and to present the cases, if necessary.

6.5 It needs to be ensured that all the cases which are tenable are settled at the time of Pension Adalat itself. But in cases where it is not possible to settle the same on the spot, it should be settled and finalized within a period of approx. three months from the date of holding the Pension Adalat.

7. Composition and conduct of Pension Adalat
7.1 The Adalat will comprise of concerned stake holders al the Regional level, which may have minimum five members chaired by the Head of the concerned Organization/Bank. The Head of the Pension Adalat would be assisted by the concerned officer of the Region concerned. The other three members will be one each from the Operational Wing and Finance Wings and the Bank/Post office (pension disbursing authority), it may also have a representative of DoP&PW. However, modifIcation in the composition of the members can be made if the Head of the respective Organization/ Pension Adalat feels so in the circumstances.

7.2 The business of the Adalat is conducted through benches which comprise of experts in pension matters from various authorities. The Pension Adalat would be more beneficial if the representatives of DoP&W and all the concerned stakeholders are included in it.

7.3 The Pension Adalats should be conducted at the level of very senior Officers including Officers of Personnel. Accounts, Finance and other Departments concerned. The representatives of Banks/other Pension Disbursing Authorities should also be co-opted in the Pension Adalats. The officers comprising the Adalat should be those who have been authorized to take decisions on the various aspects of pension.

8. Jurisdiction and Venue
The Adalats are generally held at places where there is large concentration of Pensioners who draw their pensions from Public Sector Banks, Post offices and Treasuries. There will be one Adalat at least at regional level, which will cover a wide range of organizations/stakeholders. The Adalats may be held at the Headquarters Station of the Regional Officc of the respective organization.

9. Evaluation & Monitoring
9.1 A Summary of outstanding cases may be compiled at the end of the Adalat and the unsettled cases referred to the concerned agencies for appropriate action in a time bound manner. A periodical review of outstanding cases is conducted and follow up action is taken with the internal and external agencies.

9.2 A review of the performance of the Adalat may be completed within 3 months of the ADALAT DAY. The items for evaluation could be
(a) Total no. of grievances/cases.
(b) number of cases decided on-the-spot.
(b) disposal of cases where decision could not be given on-the- spot and another date has been given.
(c) Users satisfaction generated through the Adalat.9.3 An evaluation report after the first Adalat meeting may be prepared by the Head of the Pension Adalat assisted by the concerned officer at regional level clearly indicating further steps. it any, required for improvement, and the same submitted within a month from the date of Adalat to senior officers of the respective organization.

9.4 Efforts should always be made to make payment of settlement dues immediately on retirement as per normal practice. No case should be held up for decision in Pension Adalats unless the delay is absolutely inescapable.

9.5 As the conduct of Pension Adalat is being monitored at the highest level of the respective organization including stakeholders, the guidelines should be followed scrupulously to ensure that the grievances of Pensioners / Family Pensioners are settled promptly without giving any room for complaint whatsoever.

Source :

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Implementation of Supreme Court Judgement on Rank Pay Case

Implementation of Supreme Court Judgement on Rank Pay Case

Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Defence
18-December-2013 17:10 IST
Implementation of Supreme Court Judgement on Rank Pay Case

In compliance of the Hon’ble Supreme Court order dated 04.09.2012 which dealt with the rank pay matter, the Government has issued an order on 27.12.2012 for implementing the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

2840 serving officers and 33814 retired officers of the Army, Navy and Air Force have been paid a total amount of Rs.347 crores as their admissible dues. Additionally, Pension Payment Orders (PPOs) in respect of 12129 Army officers, 2187 Navy officers and 5557 Air Force officers have been revised.

However, the Armed Forces have raised certain issues regarding interpretation of the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court which are under examination. This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Dr. T.N. Seema in Rajya Sabha today.

Source: PIB News

Medical procedures are same for all categories of CGHS and ECHS beneficiaries...

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Irregularities in Medical Treatment

In a special audit drive undertaken by all the Principal Controllers of Defence Accounts (PCsDA) to examine the bill processing procedures of Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), PCDA, Western Command had raised observations relating to excess payment to ECHS empanelled hospitals amounting to Rs.15 crores.

All the observations raised by the PCDA, Western Command were thoroughly analysed by Regional Centre, Chandigarh and it was noticed that most of the observations raised were due to incorrect interpretation of the policies. Wherever observations of the Controller of Defence Accounts were conceded to, the overpayments have been duly deducted from the concerned hospitals and suitable warnings issued to them.

The rates laid down by Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) for various medical procedures are the same for all categories of ECHS beneficiaries and payments are made accordingly.

This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Tufani Saroj in Lok Sabha today.

Source: PIB News

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