India approves induction of women fighter pilots in Air Force

Flight Lieutenant Alka Shuka at Bangalore Airbase in 2012
Flight Lieutenant Alka Shuka at Bangalore Airbase in 2012

Government has approved induction of women into the Fighter branch of Indian Air Force. Defense Ministry spokesperson said the decision has been taken keeping in view the aspirations of Indian women and is in line with contemporary trends in Armed Forces of developed nations.

The first women pilots would be selected from the batch which is presently undergoing flying training at Air Force Academy. They will be commissioned into the fighter stream in June 2016 after successful completion of initial training. Thereafter, they would undergo advanced training for one year and would enter a fighter cockpit by June 2017.

There are around 1,500 women in the Air Force, including 94 pilots and 14 navigators. The Air Force is presently inducting women in Transport and Helicopter streams. With today’s decision, women have become eligible for induction in all branches and streams of the Air Force.

Defense Ministry has also taken up a comprehensive review pertaining to induction of women in Armed Forces, both in short service commission and permanent commission. Once finalised, more and more branches would be opened up for induction of women.


Austerity drive: No first class air travel for bureaucrats

Austerity drive: No first class air travel for bureaucrats
merisarkar news service, New Delhi, October 30, 2014
Will cut down non-plan expenditure by 10%: Arun Jaitley

Unveiling an austerity drive to trim fiscal deficit, the government has banned first class air travel for bureaucrats, meetings in five-star hotels and purchase of cars while freezing new appointments.

The measures that are aimed at cutting non-plan spending by 10 per cent includes a ban on filling of vacant posts to reduce fiscal deficit to a 7-year low of 4.1 per cent of GDP.

“Such measures are intended at promoting fiscal discipline, without restricting the operational efficiency of the government,” a finance ministry statement said.

“In the context of the current fiscal situation, there is a need to continue to rationalize expenditure and optimize available resources,” it added.

The previous UPA government had also clamped similar measures in 2012 and 2013 to cut down on fiscal deficit. Creation of new positions as well as car purchases are mostly banned and video conferencing should be used wherever possible.

Interest and debt payments, the defence budget, salaries and pensions will not be affected by these steps, it said.

With an aim to restrict fiscal deficit, the Finance Ministry said “While officers are entitled to various classes of air travel depending on seniority, utmost economy would need to be observed while exercising the choice keeping the limitations of budget in mind. However, there would no bookings in the First Class.” The facility of video conferencing, it said, “may be used effectively”.

The Finance Ministry said purchase of new vehicles to meet operational requirement of defence forces, Paramilitary forces and security organisations are permitted but ban on purchase of any other vehicles would continue.

“In the context of the current fiscal situation, there is a need to continue to rationalise expenditure and optimise available resources,” it said.

The government proposes to lower the fiscal deficit to 3 per cent of GDP by 2016-17.

The deficit which had touched a high of 5.7 per cent in 2011-12, was brought down to 4.8 per cent in 2012-13 and further to 4.5 per cent in 2013-14 by way of austerity measures.

“The task before me is very challenging because we need to revive growth, particularly in manufacturing sector and infrastructure,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in his budget speech.

Choice has to be made whether or not to be victims of mere populism and wasteful expenditure, he had said.

सरकारी खर्चों में कटौती की प्रक्रिया आरंभ, बिजनेस क्लॉस ट्रैवल पर रोक

सरकार ने गैर-योजना व्यय में 10 प्रतिशत कटौती के लिए खर्चे में कमी की शुरुआत की है। नौकरशाहों पर प्रथम श्रेणी में विदेश यात्रा पर प्रतिबंध लगा दिया गया है और उनसे कहा गया कि वे जहां तक संभव हो वीडियो कान्फ्रेंसिंग का उपयोग करें।

राजकोषीय घाटे को वित्त वर्ष 2014-15 में 4.1 प्रतिशत तक सीमित रखने के उद्देश्य से वित्त मंत्रालय ने अधिकारियों पर पांच सितारा होटलों में बैठक आयोजित करने पर पाबंदी लगा दी और एक साल से अधिक समय से खाली पड़े पदों को भरने तथा नई नियुक्तियों पर रोक लगा दी।

एक आधिकारिक नोट में कहा गया है कि अधिकारियों को वरीयता के आधार पर विभिन्न दर्जे में हवाई यात्रा करने की सुविधा प्राप्त है लेकिन इसका चुनाव करते हुए बजट सीमा को ध्यान में रखते हुए मितव्ययिता बरतने की जरूरत है। हालांकि, प्रथम श्रेणी में कोई बुकिंग नहीं होगी। वित्त मंत्रालय ने कहा कि वीडियो कान्फ्रेंसिंग की सुविधा का उपयोग प्रभावी तरीके से किया जा सकता है।

मंत्रालय ने कहा कि रक्षा बलों, अर्धसैनिक बलों और सुरक्षा संगठनों की परिचालन अनिवार्यता पूरी करने के लिए नए वाहनों की खरीद की मंजूरी है लेकिन अन्य वाहनों की खरीद पर प्रतिबंध जारी रहेगा। परिपत्र में कहा गया है कि ऐसी पहलों का उद्देश्य है सरकार की परिचालन क्षमता को प्रभावित किए बगैर राजकोषीय अनुशासन को बढ़ावा देना।

मौजूदा राजकोषीय स्थिति के लिहाज से व्यय को तर्कसंगत रखने और उपलब्ध संसाधन का अधिकतम उपयोग करने की जरूरत है। सरकार ने राजकोषीय घाटे को 2016-17 तक तीन प्रतिशत पर लाने का प्रस्ताव किया है। राजकोषीय घाटा 2011-12 में बढ़कर 5.7 प्रतिशत के उच्चतम स्तर को छू गया था जिससे मितव्ययिता पहल के जरिए 2012-13 में 4.8 प्रतिशत पर और 2013-14 में 4.5 प्रतिशत पर लाया गया।

वित्त मंत्री अरुण जेटली ने अपने बजट भाषण में कहा था कि मेरे सामने बड़ी चुनौतीपूर्ण स्थिति है क्योंरकि हमें वृद्धि दर विशेष तौर पर विनिर्माण और बुनियादी ढांचा क्षेत्र को लीक पर लाने की जरूरत है। उन्होंने कहा था कि हमें यह देखना होगा कि लोकलुभावन और बेकार खर्चों को जारी रखा जाए अथवा नहीं।

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Pakistan-China Military Nexus a cause of serious concern: India

merisarkar news service
New Delhi, November 27, 2009

Defence Minister AK Antony has said that China’s military nexus with Pakistan is a cause of concern for the country and we will have to be vigilant at all times. He was speaking at a function at prestigious defence institute IDSA in New Delhi on Friday.

He said, “India has to carry out continuous appraisal of Chinese military capabilities and shape its responses accordingly.”

The Defence Minister said India is hopeful that China would reciprocate to its initiatives aimed at mutual prosperity and understanding. Mr. Antony said India wants to develop a friendly and cordial relationship with its neighbours including China.

The Defence minister said Pakistan is not taking credible steps to put an end to terror groups operating from its soil. Pointing out that the terror infrastructure in Pakistan remains intact and is actually thriving,

Defence Minister AK Antony said India needs to closely monitor the developments in that country. He said Pakistan is yet to demonstrate any will to take speedy action against terrorists and international criminals.


India will examine impact of Dubai financial crisis

merisarkar news service
New Delhi, November 27, 2009

Indian government said on Friday that it is keeping a close eye on the financial crises in Dubai. The financial crisis is caused by debt repayment crisis of a state firm – Dubai World.

The government said that it would examine the scope of the problem but claimed that no impact is visible as of now.

Commerce Minister Anand Sharma has said that he does not think some development in real estate in Dubai will have an impact on the Indian economy.

Anand Sharma said that India is a very large and resilient economy. He said that as far as India is concerned, the housing, real estate sector and construction industry are all doing well. This is confirmed by the increasing demand for construction materials, cement and steel.

The Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla said that the issue will have to examined to see what is the problem, what will be the possible implication, if any for the Indian economy, the people and corporates.

Asked if the crisis will impact money flows into India, since the Gulf region accounts for over half the total inward remittances worth over 25 billion dollar annually from expatriate Indians, Mr Chawla said that this is unlikely.

The state-run Dubai World stunned the global financial world yesterday when it announced it needs to restructure its debt, estimated at 59 billion dollar to preempt default and asked creditors for a six-month deferment.

RBI Governor D Subbarao said the officers of the central Bank have been asked to study the impact and make necessary recommendations.


BSE SENSEX down by 223 points at closing

merisarkar news service
New Delhi, November 27, 2009

The sensitive 30 share index – SENSEX at the Bombay Stock Exchange rebounded from the lows of the day, but still ended with a loss of 223 points or 1.3 percent and closed at 16,632 on the last trading day of this week.

Earlier in the session the SENSEX had plunged a massive 644 points, as concerns about Dubai’s debt problems rattled markets around the world. The Nifty at the National Stock Exchange fell 64 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,942.

Other Asian stock markets took a much bigger hammering, with key indices in Japan, China, Hong Kong and South Korea slumping between 2.5 percent and 5 percent.