MoD Answer to various Parliament Questions related with Defence MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2011 JOINT NAVAL EXERCISE Indo-Russia combined exercises named â€˜INDRA' are conducted once every two years since 2003. The Indian and Russian Navies work out proposals for conduct of the â€˜INDRA exercise based on mutually convenient dates. Indian Navy (IN) had proposed and Russian Navy conveyed their readiness to conduct INDRA 11 off Vladivostok (East Coast of Russia) in February 2011. However due to the situation arising from Tsunami and nuclear radiation disaster in Japan, the exercise was postponed. Since the Indian ships were on their routine overseas deployment, no losses were incurred. Future action will depend on mutual convenience of the two sides. This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri SS Ramasubbu in Lok Sabha today. DEVELOPMENT OF CRITICAL TECHNOLOGIES As per provisions in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is fully concentrating on development of strategic, complex and security sensitive systems. DRDO has adequately developed critical technologies of strategic importance to achieve self-reliance in the areas of missiles, aeronautics, armaments & explosives, naval systems, radars & sensors, electronic warfare systems, advanced materials, combat vehicles, etc. DRDO has no financial constraints for imparting training to the scientists. The scientists of all Grades are nominated for trainings as per the requirements of the Organization. Nearly 100 scientists are also sponsored for higher studies at various reputed institutions like, National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Science (IISc) etc. This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Ravneet Singh in Lok Sabha today. FIELD FIRING RANGES The number of Field Firing Ranges (FFRs) has declined in the last decades from 104 to 66 (12 acquired and 44 notified ranges). 38 ranges have been deleted from the list of FFRs in 2009 due to their not being available (due to de-notification) on account of being declared as wild life sanctuaries or to their not being re-notified by the State Governments. Notified FFRs are required to be re-notified from time to time by respective State Governments after clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has been received. Due to Increase in population, spread of habitation & development, encroachments, areas being declared as wild life sanctuary/reserve forests, and environmental pressures, the State Governments are often disinclined to renotify ranges in their jurisdiction. Concerted efforts are being made at all levels to ensure timely re- notification of the de-notified ranges. One time Compensatory Afforestation (CA) charges as required by the respective State Governments have been paid in case of many ranges to ensure their long term re-notification and continued availability, in addition, efforts are on by the Army to impress upon the respective State Governments and MoEF the need for re-notification/acquisition of field firing ranges This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Kuldeep Bishnoi in Lok Sabha today. PREPAREDNESS TO FACE NUCLEAR EFFECTS Quick Reaction Medical Teams to respond to Nuclear Biological & Chemical (NBC) incidents are co-located with Quick Reaction Teams at strategic locations as per policy. Capability also exists at the Corps level for medical teams to respond to NBC attacks. Besides, all medical personnel in the lower formations are imparted NBC training to augment capability for appropriately responding to NBC strikes. Establishment of Causality Decontamination Centres in the identified hospitals are also included in authorized works of hospitals projects. This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to DR. Mahendrasinh P. Chauhan in Lok Sabha today. PLACEMENT OF IAF PERSONNEL A Placement Fair was conducted at Air Force Auditorium, Subroto Park, New Delhi on 15th & 16th October, 2011 by the Indian Air Force Placement Cell. A total of 2788 air warriors including 2671 airmen (2035 retired and 636 serving) and 117 officers (87 retired and 30 serving) participated in the event. A total of 38 companies participated in the fair. 666 air warriors were shortlisted for placement during the fair. So far 93 confirmed placements have been reported to Indian Air Force Placement Cell. Such fairs are conducted as per the requirements of the Indian Air Force from time to time. This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri A. Ganeshamurthi in Lok Sabha today. CSD DEPOTS IN HIMACHAL PRADESH Government of Himachal Pradesh has requested this Ministry for setting up of a CSD Depot in the State in view of the number of Servicemen, Ex-servicemen and their families residing there. Land measuring approximately 188 kanals had been offered by Himachal Pradesh Government in this regard. However, the same was not found to be suitable, since some of it Included khud/nallah which is prone to flooding during rainy season. It is not possible at this stage to anticipate the time likely to be taken for setting up the Depot at Una in view of the fact that the Government of Himachal Pradesh is yet to identify another piece of suitable land. Once a suitable alternate land is offered by the State Government the proposal will be considered depending upon availability of budget and manpower. This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Virender Kashyap in Lok Sabha today. WITHDRAWAL OF AFSPA The issue of partial revocation of AFSPA from some districts of J&K was discussed in the United Headquarters (UHQ) meeting held at Jammu on 09.11.2011. Decisions on matters affecting security are taken after evaluation of the situation on the ground and after detailed consultations among the Central Government, State Governments concerned and the Security Forces. This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Gopinath Munde and others in Lok Sabha today. RECRUITMENT IN GREF Consequent to the approval of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in 2006, the sanctioned posts of Group A personnel in General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) were increased from 654 to 980. As per Government of India Policy, In Border Roads Organisation too reservation in the Group 'A' posts for General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) Officers is made at the entry level. Category wise break-up in different posts of Group 'A' SC/ST/OBC officers of GREF at the entry level lying vacant as on date is as under:- The recruitment Is an ongoing process and Group 'A' posts are filled up by UPSC through Combined Engineering Service Examination and interview conducted by them. On basis of candidates made available by the UPSC against Asstt. Executive Engineers (AEEs) vacancies, offers of appointment were issued to 56 SC/ST/OBC candidates in 2010-2011. A requisition for filling up 90 vacant posts of AEE (Civ) including SC/ST/OBC posts for the year 2011 has already been sent to UPSC. The recruitment process for other posts filled up through Direct Recruitment as well as promotions is underway. A specific time frame cannot be fixed by the Ministry. This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri (Capt.) Jai Narain Prasad Nishad in Lok Sabha today. THREAT TO COASTAL SECURITY Government attaches utmost importance to nation's coastal security. Vigilance and surveillance including on the western coast has to be constantly maintained. Towards this end, both Navy and Coast Guard have been strengthened in terms of assets, equipments, manpower and infrastructure in coastal states and island territories. Various measures to strengthen Coastal Security include improving surveillance mechanism and enhanced patrolling following an integrated approach. Joint operational exercises are conducted on regular basis with Navy, Coast Guard, Coastal Police, Customs and other stakeholders to check the effectiveness of new approach adopted for security of coastal areas Including Island territories. The intelligence mechanism has also been streamlined with the creation of Join Operation Centers and multi-agency coordination mechanism. Other measures include setting up of a chain of Coastal Radar Stations covering the country's entire coastline and Islands. Coastal Security Schemes Phase-ll of the Ministry of Home Affairs proposes to procure 180 patrol boats inter-alia other assets for all the nine coastal States and four Union Territories over the next five years with an outlay of approximately Rs.1,579.91 crores. This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Baijayant Jay Panda and others in Lok Sabha today. PURCHASE OF TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) have been signed with the Government of the United States (USG) for the procurement often C-17 Globemaster aircraft as well as six C-130J aircraft along with associated equipment for the Indian Air Force (IAF) The estimated cost of the procurement of the C-17 aircraft is US $ 4.116 billion while the cost of the procurement of the C-130-J 30 aircraft is US $ 962.4 million. The cost of an aircraft depends on its specifications, configurations and equipment on-board. The cost at which the aircraft is being supplied to India is commensurate with the cost at which C-17 aircraft is supplied to the United States Air Force and its allies. All ten C-17 aircraft and their associated equipment are expected to be delivered to the IAF between June 2013 and June 2015. The induction of the C-130 J30 aircraft commenced in February 2011 and five aircraft have been inducted into the IAF so far. The sixth aircraft is planned for induction by end of December 2011. This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Baliram Jadhav and others in Lok Sabha today. CONTRACT FOR SURVEILLANCE RADARS A contract for procurement of 22 Surveillance Radar Elements (SREs) radars was signed with M/s Bharat Electronics Limited on 27th September 2007 at a cost of Rs.870.44 crore. The contract included creation of necessary Infrastructure to operationalise these radars. The procurement was under the "Make" category of the Defence Procurement Procedure. All the 22 Radars have been delivered and four radars have been commissioned after completion of work services. The work services for the remaining sites are at various stages of completion. This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Bal Kumar Patel in Lok Sabha today. ULTRA LIGHT HOWITZER GUNS FOR ARMY Ultra Light Howitzer is amongst the equipment that is included in the Artillery Profile 2027 prepared by the Artillery Directorate of Army, The procurement on Single Vendor basis from M/s ST Kinetics, Singapore is sub-judice. The option of procuring the equipment through US Government (FMS route) is also being pursued. The field evaluation of Ultra Light Howitzer comprises three parts viz. user trials, DGQA trials and Maintainability trials. Out of these, only user trials of the gun proposed to be procured through US Government have been completed. The performance of the gun can be ascertained only after evaluation of all three trial reports. The field evaluation trial report of the guns was a confidential document. Four pages of draft field trial report were received in an anonymous envelope by the Army Hqrs. An enquiry in the matter is underway. Detailed instructions exist about security of classified documents. Aberrations, if any, are dealt with as per the relevant rules This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Om Prakash Yadav and others in Lok Sabha today. CAPABILITIES OF AIR FORCE The Defence Acquisitions Council had accorded Acceptance of Necessity for the procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) at an estimated cost of Rs.42,000/- crore on 29th June 2007. The proposal is now at the contract negotiations stage and the final cost procurement would be known only after completion of the negotiations and finalization of the contract. The offset proposals have been evaluated in accordance with Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2006 and they relate to direct purchase of defence products or services or direct investments with Indian offset partners as per the offset guidelines stipulated in the DPP. The operational capabilities of the Indian Air Force (IAF) are periodically reviewed to ensure that they are adequate to meet the security challenges. It would not be in the interest of national security to divulge the details. The Light Combat Air craft (LCA) is expected to achieve Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) for induction into the IAF in 2012. The major part of the helicopter fleet have useful residual life which is being gainfully utilized. Steps have been taken to both upgrade the existing fleet as well as to induct new helicopters for various tasks. Contracts have been signed for procurement of Medium Lift Helicopters from M/s Rosobornexport, Russia and Advanced Light Helicopter from M/s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. The IAF is in the process of modernization of its transport and helicopter fleet. This includes induction of C-130J-30 Transport Aircraft, C-17 Heavy Transport Aircraft, Medium Transport Aircraft as welt as helicopters for various transport, recce and surveillance and operational tasks This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Manish Tewari and others in Lok Sabha today. ONE RANK-ONE PENSION The gap between past pensioners and their youger equivalents retiring from the armed forces does not necessarily keeps widening with every successive pay commission. Over the years several improvements have been made in pension of past pensioners. The pension of past pensioners have revised in accordance with recommendation of each successive Pay Commission, as accepted by the Government. The Sixth Pay Commission had recommended fitment formula and modified parity for past pensioners, in order to reduce the gaps, which were accepted by the Government. Pension Improvement is an ongoing process and considerable improvements have been made in the pensions of armed forces personnel. The Group of Ministers (GoM) had in 2005 improved the pensionary benefits of PBORs. On the recommendations of PMO, a Committee was set up under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary in June, 2009 to look into the issue of 'One Rank One Pension and other related matters. After considering all aspects of the matter, the Committee keeping in mind the spirit of the demand, suggested several measures to substantially improve pensionary benefits of Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR) and Commissioned Officers, which have been accepted by the Government and orders for implementation of all the recommendations have been issued. These are available at Welcome to Office of the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), Allahabad. This information was given by Minister of State for Defence Shri MM Pallam Raju in a written reply to Dr. Rajan Sushant and others in Lok Sabha today. Source: Parliament of India.