Sanjha Morcha

Jawan’s pay restored after PM intervenes

New Delhi, March 7

The BSF today withdrew an order deducting a week’s salary of a jawan for showing “disrespect” towards the Prime Minister during a routine drill after Narendra Modi expressed his displeasure over the punishment, the force said.Modi directed the BSF today to immediately withdraw the order, a spokesperson for the paramilitary said, adding that it had been rescinded.Constable Sanjeev Kumar, posted in the 15th battalion of the Border Security Force deployed in West Bengal’s Nadia district, was found “guilty” by his commanding officer (CO) for using the words “Modi programme” while attending a morning roll call task on February 21.The CO of the unit, Commandant Anup Lal Bhagat, issued an order handing down a “pay fine of 7 days”, which means a salary cut for a week, to the jawan for “showing disrespect towards the PM”.“The Prime Minister has expressed his displeasure and directed the force to immediately withdraw the punishment. The order has been rescinded and the Commandant concerned has been cautioned for not dealing with the matter judiciously,” the BSF spokesperson said.Officials said the jawan referred to an event that he attended as “Modi programme” during the ‘zero parade’ or reporting assembly of briefing seniors about their official activities. — PTI


More of Bharat joins in The wages of accumulated rural distress

More of Bharat joins in

The huge phalanx of protesting farmers has won over Mumbaikars with their self-discipline and compassion. Incredulous urbanites have watched a spectacle of exemplary fortitude as the salt of the earth — the tribal, the landless and the marginal farmer — braved the scorching sun and roofless nights as they silently walked hundreds of kilometres from their farmsteads to the state’s political and financial capital to seek their due. Social media has posted amazing pictures of a sea of farmers walking past populated areas at the break of dawn so as not to inconvenience children during exam time. CM Fadnavis was “technically” correct but  came off looking insensitive and extremely condescending when he said the sea of agitating rural India was “technically” not farmers. Many of the feet are bare, calloused and bruised. This was not merely the tractor-crowd whose sole focus is personal aggrandisement in the form of debt waivers and high crop purchase prices. These sons of the soil seek not just immediate respite from farm distress, but also devolution of the rights-based promises made to rural India by successive ruling arrangements, especially the Forests Act and land rights to the tiller. Another principal communitarian demand relates to the apprehensions triggered by river interlinking projects. Rural India is not asking for the unattainable. It simply seeks an assurance against being left out or being made the victims of the New Delhi’s model of vikas. The massive “Long March” is not the only manifestation of rural India’s resentment over the short shrift given to its fears, suspicions and aspirations. From Tamil Nadu to Madhya Pradesh, people in villages are up in arms against a non-existent public delivery system and denial of a rights-based existence. The discipline displayed by the marchers exemplifies the legendary forbearance of the Indian peasantry. But it is being tested. Successive protests are gathering more and more adherents; the previous edition pales in comparison to the numbers who participated in the current march. The governments at the Centre and the states can ignore these storm clouds only at their peril.


Army gears up for e-warfare

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7

After inducting ground-based electronic warfare (EW) systems over the past couple of decades, the Army now wants to take this battlefield domain into the skies. It has projected a requirement of aerial systems for reconnaissance, surveillance as well as countering hostile radio and cellular networks and satellite-based systems.According to the Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap – 2018 document that was issued by the Ministry of Defence a few days ago, the Army has projected a requirement for three aerostat systems, seven heliborne EW systems and 10 EW payloads for remotely piloted aircraft.The document, the first edition of which was issued in 2013, identifies the requirements of the three services in various domains over the next decade and serves as a guide for the industry for planning or initiating technology development, partnerships and production arrangements.The Army’s requirement for the aforementioned aerial systems comes along with an additional requirement for 10 integrated EW systems that can be mounted on tracked or wheeled vehicles. The Air Force and the Navy too have projected requirements for different types of EW platforms to meet their operational needs.The broad parameters for the EW systems include the capability to deny effective use of electronic spectrum by the enemy, detect, monitor, and jam enemy cellular and satellite communication receivers, radars and GPS systems, carry out communication intelligence and electronic countermeasures, besides integrating photo-recce and image correlation for physical identification of targets. The IAF had inducted two aerostats over a decade ago and drawn up plans for further acquisitions, which are still hanging fire. An aerostat is an unpowered balloon tethered at a certain height above the ground and equipped with surveillance and communication equipment. It can remain deployed for a number of days at a stretch, scan a wide swath of area and is particularly effective for detecting low-flying or surface objects.Aerial EW systems that the Army is envisaging can also be used for counterterrorist operations and sub-conventional conflict situations besides conventional deployment.


Seeks aerial systems
  • Projects a requirement for three aerostat systems, seven heliborne electronic warfare (EW) systems and 10 EW payloads for remotely piloted aircraft
  • The objective is to deny effective use of electronic spectrum by the enemy, detect, monitor, and jam enemy cellular and satellite communication receivers, radars and GPS systems

Pak trips on free run : 37-nation Financial Action Task Force to probe terror funding byG Parthasarathy

Pak trips on free run
In Dock: Pakistan’s calculations have back-fired; it will have to be accountable.

G Parthasarathy

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), set up in 1989 by the G7 countries, and with headquarters in Paris, acts as an “international watchdog” on issues of money laundering and financing of terrorism. It has 37 members, including all five permanent members of the Security Council, and countries with economic influence all across the world. Two regional organisations — the Gulf Cooperation and the European Commission — are members of the FATF. Saudi Arabia and Israel are observers. India became a full member of the FATF in June 2010. The FATF is empowered to ensure that financing of UN-designated terrorist organisations is blocked. It has the power to publicly name countries not abiding by its norms, making it difficult for them to source financial flows internationally.Pakistan is particularly vulnerable to pressures from this task force as the Afghan Taliban, Haqqani network, LeT and JeM — all internationally designated terrorist groups — operate from its soil. Pakistan has long claimed that it has done its best to prevent terrorism emanating from its soil. It has also averred that there is no firm evidence against the LeT and the JeM, even after these groups have publicly acknowledged that they were promoting terrorism in India. Pakistan has also rejected evidence like wireless transcripts of conversations of Jaish terrorists involved in the Pathankot airport and the vast evidence available internationally of the Lashkar role in the Mumbai 26/11 attack. The Americans and their allies have focused attention primarily on Pakistan support for the Haqqani network in Afghanistan. Pakistan has believed that sooner, rather than later, the Americans would cut their losses and withdraw from Afghanistan, leaving the country open for a Pakistan-backed Taliban takeover. President Donald Trump, however, made it clear that he was determined that the US would not “lose” in Afghanistan. He is augmenting the US troop presence and moving fast to strengthen the Afghan armed forces, including its air force. American economic assistance to Pakistan has been placed on hold. In addition, the US has mobilised its NATO allies to take a tougher line on Pakistan. The NATO allies are also expanding their deployments in Afghanistan. More recently, the US has initiated moves to get the task force to place Pakistan on its “grey list” at its next meeting in June.The American effort in the FATF on Pakistan funding of terrorist groups predictably ran into problems initially. Pakistan had mobilised support from China, the Gulf Cooperation Council led by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and quite evidently Russia to counter the American-led move. Islamabad banked on Russian support, given the bonhomie that Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov manifested when he invited his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif to Moscow on the eve of the FATF meeting. Further, despite parliamentary opposition, Pakistan declared, just over a week before the FATF meeting, that it would be deploying additional troops in Saudi Arabia. It clearly expected Saudi support in the FATF after its decision was announced. The Lavrov bonhomie led the inexperienced Khawaja Asif to proclaim hastily and prematurely that Pakistan had succeeded in prevailing over moves to place it on the FATF “grey list” involving monitoring of its international financial flows. The Americans responded immediately to these developments. Saudi Arabia and the GCC fell in line with American demands for the FATF to act against Pakistan. European powers like the UK, Germany and France remained steadfast in their determination to corner Pakistan. Russia quietly receded to the background. Recognising that its support for Pakistan would leave it isolated in the FATF, where it was aspiring to become its vice-chairman at the forthcoming FATF session in June, Pakistan’s “all-weather friend” China pulled back its support for Pakistan. The only country that steadfastly continued supporting Pakistan was Turkey, whose egotistic President Recep Erdogan would certainly not win an international popularity contest today!Pakistan will now have to provide a detailed action plan on actions it proposes to take on curbing funding for UN-designated terrorist groups. It would then be placed on the FATF grey list, where its financial flows would be subject to intense international scrutiny. Pakistan would, thereafter, be placed on the FATF “black list” if it fails to present a credible and comprehensive action plan to the FATF by June. This would virtually end any prospect of it receiving adequate financial flows. There has been disappointment, anger and frustration in Pakistan at the FATF decision. Hardly anyone in Pakistan is prepared to publicly advise that it is time for Pakistan’s rogue army to end support on its soil to armed terrorist groups, acting against India and Afghanistan. While Pakistan recently claimed it had closed Lashkar offices, it was soon found that only the gates of these offices were closed, while routine activities continued inside.In these circumstances, India should urge members of the European Union and Japan to join the US and end providing concessional credits to Pakistan. Given its precarious foreign exchange position, Pakistan will inevitably have to go to the IMF for a bailout in a few months. Institutions like the IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank need to be persuaded to withhold providing concessional credits to Pakistan, even if it takes some token measures to claim it has acted against UN-designated terrorist outfits. India should urge that no concessional credits should be provided to Pakistan till it dismantles the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil irrevocably. China will not follow suit; but its “aid” for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will only increase Pakistan’s already heavy debt burden.The withdrawal of Chinese support in the FATF has shaken the Pakistan establishment’s belief that Chinese support to “contain India” has no limitations. China recognises that backing Pakistan unconditionally in the FATF would not only earn it the ire of the mercurial Donald Trump, but would also sully its image internationally. At the same time, this does not mean that there will be any change in China’s policies on issues like declaring Jaish chief Masood Azhar an international terrorist. Moreover, we should also clearly recognise that President Trump’s actions are primarily in response to Pakistan’s support for the Haqqani network in Afghanistan. They are not highly or significantly focused on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism on Indian soil. That is a battle that will have to be fought primarily by us. 


Martyr’s statues installed atop houses in his native village

Martyr’s statues installed atop houses in his native village
A statue of Bhagat Singh erected atop a residence at his ancestral village, Khatkar Kalan in Nawanshahr ahead of his martyrdom day. Photo: Sarabjit Singh

Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Khatkar Kalan, March 21An increasing following for Bhagat Singh as the youth icon is evident from the fact that the residents of his ancestral village have started installing his statues atop their houses here.Two houses from this village have got erected nicely painted statues of the martyr and one can see residents passing by these houses bowing before their revered hero as they move ahead to their destinations.Satnam Singh, a farmer whose house falls on the back of the museum at Khatkar Kalan, says, “I got the statue installed last week. I got it made and tastefully painted from an artisan in an adjoining village. I have brought up my children telling them the heroic deeds of Bhagat Singh for the country begin their day. We had his portrait in the living room of our house, too, but my family insisted that we could put up his statue too.”The statue of the freedom fighter atop the house of Bhag Singh is even more depictive. Here he has a pistol in one hand and the Tricolour in the other. Sarpanch Sukhwinder Singh of the village said, “There are about 430 families in the village and all have appreciated the move.”


Education fee cap for martyrs’ children goes

Education fee cap for martyrs’ children goes

New Delhi, March 22

The government has removed the cap it had imposed last year on educational expenses paid to children of martyrs or those disabled in military action.In July 2017, the educational expenses paid to such children were capped at Rs 10,000 per month, impacting some 3,200 students studying in schools, colleges and professional institutions. The fee in professional colleges is about Rs 10 lakh per annum and there was no way for the affected students to pay up after the cap. The scheme applies equally to children of officers and jawans. The move resulted in a meager saving of less than Rs 4 crore per annum. The Tribune was the first to report on the  decision, following which the Ministry of Defence agreed to review the matter and referred it to the Ministry of Finance. The scheme was announced on December 18, 1971. — TNS


Rs 50,000 reward for IMA, NDA entrants from Uttarakhand

Tribune News Service

Dehradun, March 16

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be in Uttarakhand on March 25. She will be distributing cash awards to students of the state, who have been recently selected by the Indian Military Academy and the National Defence Academy. The award ceremony nomenclatured Shaurya Diwas was aimed to encourage young generation in the state to take up career in defence forces. Uttarakhand State Minister for Higher Education Dhan Singh Rawat presided over a high-level meeting to make the award ceremony a success.A cash award of Rs 50,000 will be given to the student, who has been selected in the IMA or the NDA recently. In case of absence of a student during the ceremony, his parents will be accepting the award. The award scheme is an initiative of the Uttarakhand Education Department.


FDI in defence since 2014 mere Rs 1.17 cr

FDI in defence since 2014 mere  Rs 1.17 cr

Ajay Banerjee

TRibune News Service

New Delhi, March 7

In what reflects a ‘lack of interest’ by foreign companies in the Indian defence manufacturing sector, there has been a mere Rs 1.17 crore foreign direct investment (FDI) since May 2014. (Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)Touting FDI in defence as a major shift in policy, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had okayed up to 49 per cent stake for foreign companies partnering Indian companies. As per the MoD figures given in Parliament, the defence industry received FDI worth Rs 1.17 crore from April 2014 to December 2017, a mere shadow of the overall FDI inflow into the country during 2016-17 fiscal which stands at Rs 3,86,885 crore. In 2016, a revised FDI policy on defence was announced, allowing FDI up to 49 per cent under the automatic route and beyond that through the government route, “wherever it was likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded”.The government had also come out with a “Security Manual for Licensed Defence Industries”, prescribing guidelines on physical, information, documentation, cyber and personnel security aspects. The defence manufacturing sector needs significant capital investment and infusion of technology for which foreign investment can play a critical role. 


More Indefinite delays for pre-2016 Pensioners and Family Pensioners

We, 18.5 lakh pre-2016 Armed Forces pensioners and family pensioners will have to wait because of the apathy in the matter of revision of Pensions and issue of E-PPOs consequent to the Cabinet decision of 3.5.2017 to be fixed on the notional pay drawn on date of retirement/death as applicable. On the other hand, 1.5 lakh revised PPOs have been issued by PCDA (P) to Defence Civilian pensioners and family pensioners.


For All Government Pensioners

 

  1. After the Cabinet’s approval dated 3.5.2017, the Department of Expenditure (DoE), MoF, through OM No. 1(13)/EV/2017 dated 23.5.2017, clarified that


“3. Central Pension Accounting Offices….Controller General of Defence Accounts under the  Ministry of Defence…..

 

 

  1. (c) Pension Accounting Authorities….(i) CPAO in case of civil pensioners and similar pension accounting offices in the Ministry of Defence…….shall pass on relevant data of live pensioners to the concerned PAOs by 31.5.2017…..In cases where data is not available the same will be obtained by the pension accounting offices from the disbursing banks and shall be passed on to the concerned PAOs. This action will be taken up simultaneously and completed within four weeks.



For Government’s Civilian Pensioners



  1. DoP&PW has clarified on the Concordance Tables prepared by DoE as follows in OM No. 38/37/2016- P & PW (A) dated 6.7.2017 as follows: –

 

 

 

“4.       These concordance tables have been prepared to facilitate revision of pension of pre-2016 pensioners/family pensioners by the concerned Pension Sanctioning Authorities. Due care has been taken to prepare these concordance tables based on fitment tables for fixation of pay from 4th to 5th , 5th to 6th and 6th to 7th Pay Commission. 

 

                        xxxx                                                     xxxx                                                     xxxx

 

  1. It is requested that the pension of pre-2016 pensioners/family pensioners may be revised w.e.f. 01.01.2016 in accordance with instructions contained in this Department’s OM of even number dated 12.5.2107 using the concordance tables enclosed herewith.”



  1. The Concordance tables, and periodic amendments, are being circulated by DoP&PW vide OM No. 38/37/2016-P & PW (A) dated 12.7.2017, 18.7.2017, and 13.9.2017 respectively. Central Pension Accounting Office (CPAO) has issued more than 29000 e-PPOs as per RTI reply dated 1.3.2018.



Defence Civilian Pensioners



  1. PCDA (P) issued Circular C-164 stating at  Paragraph 18 that PCDA (P) would provide lists of living pensioners and family pensioners from e-scrolls held by PCDA (P) to Heads of Offices (HOO) with a caveat that the list may not be exhaustive, and Circular C-164 at Paragraph 2 statingthat the Concordance Tables provided by DoE and mentioned in the DOP&PW letter(s) be utilised by HOO to prepare the LPC-Data Sheets required by PCDA (P) (emphasis added). Based on DoE’s Concordance tables, HOOs if Defence Civilian departments have been able to prepare and dispatch LPC-Data Sheets to PCDA (P), who in turn issued revision Pension Payment Orders to 1.59 lakh (25%) out of 5.58 lakh Civilian Defence Pensioners & Family pensioners as on 20.3.2018. The information is provided on the PCDA (P), Allahabad website http://www.pensionersportal.gov.in/PPOStatus.asp. There is no information related to the Defence Forces pensioners and family pensioners on the PCDA (P), PCDA (N) or CDA (AF) pages.



Defence Forces Pensioners



  1. On the other hand, Concordance tables for Defence Forces pensioners and Family pensioners have not been issued. Further, CGDA has not passed on data of live pensioners to the Pay & Accounting Offices (PAOs), even obtaining it from pension disbursing banks where necessary, all within 4 weeks. Therefore, Defence Forces’ Veterans Directorates are unable to prepare LPC and data sheets required for revision of pensions and issue of PPOs.



  1. MoD OM No. 17 (01/2017/(02)/D (Pen/Pol) dated 5.9.2017 makes no mention of  Concordance tables that can be  applicable for Defence Forces pensioners and Family pensioners as Rank Pay (4thand 5th CPC dispensation) and MSP (6th and 7th CPC dispensations) have to be added to prepare the tables. PCDA (P) Circular No. 585 dated 21.9.2017 also does not mention Concordance tables because, replies to RTI reveal that DESW and D (Pay/Services), are in consultation with CGDA to prepare the Concordance tables for pre-2016 Defence Forces pensioners and Family pensioners.



  1. The following chronology, obtained through the RTI disclosures from DESW (No. 237/RTI/2014/D (P/P) dated 16thMarch 2018 and earlier from CGDA), reveals the acute state of indecision on the issue of Concordance tables for pre-2016 pensioners and family pensioners: –



(a)        13th July 2017: – Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (DESW) forwards the DoP&PW letter and Concordance tables to O/o CGDA [PC to F No. 17(1)/2016-D (Pen/Pol) refers].



(b)        12th September 2017: – Joint CGDA writes to JS (ESW) to issue Concordance Tables.

 

(c)        13th September 2017: – US (Pen/Pol) writes to US (Pay/Services) about Concordance Tables.



(d)        14th September 2017: – CGDA advises D (Pen/Pol) to approach D (Pay/Services) to furnish the Concordance tables.



(e)        4th October 2017: – Jt CGDA writes to US (Pen/Pol) drawing attention to Para 18 of MoD letter dated 5th September 2017 that notional pay is to be fixed by Record Offices and Naval Pay Office. The UO note is also repeated from O/o CGDA to US (Pen/Pol).

 

 

(f)        5th October 2017: –     US (Pen/Pol) sends a reminder to US (Pay/Services) regarding the Concordance tables.



(g)        9th October 2017: –     Jt CGDA writes to JS (ESW) seeking status of Concordance tables to be issued in consultation with D (Pay/services). JS (ESW) seeks status from US (Pen/Pol) on 10th October 2017.



(h)        17th October 2017: –   JS (ESW) writes to JS (E) for D (Pay/Services) to prepare the Concordance Tables.



(j)         25th October 2017: –   JS (ESW) writes again to JS (E) to intervene personally and arrange to issue the Concordance tables.



(k)        27th October 2017: – US D (Pay/Services) vide MoD ID No. 1(26)/2017/D (Pay/Services) dated 27thOctober 2017 writes to CGDA to prepare the Concordance tables and send them directly to DESW (Pension Division) for further necessary action.



(l)         2nd November 2017: –            Note 4 to US (Pen/Pol) that JS (ESW) has taken up the matter with JS (E) through a DO dated 25th October 2017, however, requisite inputs from D (Pay/Services) is awaited. Note 4/n on F No. PC to 17 (1)/2016/D (Pen/Pol) refers.



(m)      13th November 2017: – PCDA (P), Allahabad states that No PPOs have been issued to Defence Forces officers as on 13.11.2017 (No. AN/RTI/2969/SYS/2017).



(n)        1st December 2017: – Jt CGDA, O/o CGDA UO No. 5700/AT-P/7th CPC/Vol V writing an entreaty to JS (ESW) to issue the Concordance Tables as Pension Sanctioning Authorities are pressurising to enable them to issue the PPOs for pre-2016 Defence Forces Family pensioners and pensioners.



(p)        15th December 2017: – Deptt of ESW vide ID No. PC-17 (1)/2016/D (Pension/Policy) writes to O/o CGDA to take up with D (Pay/Services) for expeditious preparation of Concordance tables.

 

It appears that there is either no action taken by DESW or no information available with DESW after 15.12.2017.

 

  1. RTI reply also indicate that PSAs have not provided data on live pensioners to PAO within 4 weeks of 23.5.2017 as specified by DoE. Therefore, Directorate of Air Veterans (DAV), vide Air HQ/99798/Misc/7thCPC/O/RP/DAV dated 13thOctober 2017 requested for data from pensioners and family pensioners. The DAV website https://www.iafpensioners.gov.in indicates that 4057 Officers pensioners, 348 Officers Family pensioners, and 35206 Other Ranks pensioners have provided the information required as on 23.2.2018. All this data appears to be held up in DAV awaiting the Concordance tables which appear to be held up in a tug-of-war between MoD and CGDA.



  1. DoE must have been aware that all Pension Accounting Authorities viz. CGDA maintain data on live pensioners for it to have the procedure at para 3 of its letter dated 25.3.2017.  Even then, the statement by CGDA/PCDA (P) that it does not posses data and needs to be provided data appears perennial. This is in contradiction of the following instructions/training notes issued by CGDA: –



(a)        The Defence Pension Payment Instructions 2013 for Pension Disbursing Agencies Booklet on the sanction and payment of Pensionary Benefits to Defence Personnel (including Defence Civilians) issued by CGDA (http://www.cgda.nic.in/training/trgDPTI/psm.pdf) is very explicit on the maintenance of records of Pension related calculation i.e. pay drawn on date of retirement/death etc.



(b)        The CGDA booklet also states that every Pension Disbursing Authority (PDA) shall furnish a statement showing number of effective pensioners to the PCDA (P) on 1st April and 1st October every year viz. PBOR, Commissioned Officers, Family, Defence Civilians and Family pensioners.



  1. O/o CGDA, has obtained data of live pensioners in 2012-14 to implement orders of the Supreme Court in IA No. 9 of 2010 in TP (C) No. 56 of 2007 also known as  the Rank Pay case from about 45000 beneficiaries as revealed through RTI reply No. CPIO/AT/2013/HQ/1/1108 and UO Note AT/1/1483-Army/PC/V both dated 14.6.2013.



  1. Further, in 2015, this aspect of CGDA stating that Defence Forces officers’ data is not readily available is mentioned in MoD D.O. No. 12 (1)/2015-D (Pen/Pol) Part II dated 29.5. 2015 from then JS (ESW) to Addl CGDA, especially in the context of JS (PMO) requiring certain calculations in a similar manner of fixing notional pay furnished (by O/o CGDA) in Maj Gen SPS Vains (retd) & Others case [F No. 4 (140)/2010/D (Pen/Legal) Vol II].  Later, O/o CGDA, working out financial implications of OROP on notional pay as in the Maj Gen Vains case at Annexures A to D to CGDA UO No. 5699/AT-P/OROP/Vol V dated 11thJune 2015, has quoted the following figures of pre-2013 and post 2013 retirees as on 1.4.2014 as (i) Officers: 44, 595, and (ii) JCO/OR & equivalent 12, 64,228.



  1. Therefore, the CGDA should be able to provide the live data of all pre-2016 Defence Forces and Family pensioners to the Pay Accounting Offices and through them to the RO/NPO. However, the unresolved matter of Concordance tables for pre-2016 Armed Forces pensioners and Family pensioners that will the stumbling block that needs RM’s personal intervention.

PIL in SC for independent probe into Rafale deal with France

PIL in SC for independent probe into Rafale deal with France
Rafale deal is a defence agreement signed between India and France for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in fly-away condition.

New Delhi, March 13

A plea was on Tuesday filed in the Supreme Court seeking an independent probe into the Centre’s decision to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets from France and disclosure of the cost involved in the deal before Parliament.The petition, which may come up for hearing during the week, alleged that it was the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to disclose the cost involved in the entire deal to Parliament and the citizens.”Direct the respondents (Centre and MoD) to disclose a consolidate transaction cost involved in procuring 36 Rafale fighter aircraft,” the plea, filed by Congress leader Tehseen S Poonawalla, said.It also sought issuance of a direction against the Centre as to why the Cabinet’s approval was not sought as part of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) before signing the procurement deal with France on September 23, 2016.The plea claimed that the defence deal of procuring 36 Rafale fighters from Dassault was announced during the prime minister’s state visit to France.”It was an attempt to put a sheen on Prime Minister’s visit to Paris. This pronouncement was a premature announcement of the deal without going through the usual practice, the formal process and procedure which is otherwise involved in similar international covenants,” it said.Rafale deal is a defence agreement signed between the governments of India and France for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in fly-away condition as a part of upgrading process of Indian Air Force equipment.Rafale fighter aircraft is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) is manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.Indian Air Force had advanced a proposal to buy 126 fighter aircraft in August 2007 and floated a tender and an invitation was sent to various aviation companies to participate for the bidding process.The petition said in 2012, the deal for 126 Rafale fighter aircrafts was proposed, and out of the total of 126 number, 18 Rafale fighter aircrafts were to be delivered by Dassault Aviation company in fly-away condition, the rest 108 Rafale fighter aircrafts were to be manufactured in India at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) which is an Indian public sector aerospace and defence unit, under a transfer of technology agreement.That the deal was nearly finalised by 2014 by the then UPA government, it said.”In April 2015, Narendra Modi made a state visit to France and during a state event the Prime Minister in Paris made an announcement to purchase 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts in fly-away condition and immediately within few days after the big announcement of procuring of 36 Rafale aircrafts. On 13th April 2015, the then defence minister made an announcement that the Rafale deal is ‘effectively dead’ and that India officially withdrew the 126-aircraft MMECA tender on 30 July 2015,” it alleged.The plea said the MoD had withdrawn the 2007 tender which was for procurement of 126 Rafale fighter aircrafts, the deal announced for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft was all together a fresh procurement.The plea has also sought a direction to the Centre  put on record the agreement signed between India and France on September 23, 2016. – PTI