Monday, August 16, 2010

MPs likely to get salary hike

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Monday is likely to take up the issue of hike in salaries of MPs against the backdrop of an all-party consensus demanding that lawmakers be given a salary at par with secretaries to the government of India.MPs currently get Rs 16,000 per month as salary while a secretary to the government gets Rs 80,000 a month. The proposal is to hike MPs salary to Rs 50,000. Lawmakers have pointed out that they are listed 21st on the warrant of precedence while secretaries come in at 23rd. When a secretary gets Rs 80,000 a month,it is not justified to have Rs 16,000 as an MPs monthly salary, a parliamentarian who did not want to be quoted said.

Sources indicated that given the enormous pressure from MPs,the figure may be increased to Rs 60,000.The government plans to move a bill to hike MPs salaries in Parliament this week. The issue has been pending since May 2006 when the second joint committee to look into MPs salary was set up.The generous Sixth Pay Commission hike for central government employees,which was adopted by most state governments,added to the disquiet among MPs. However,there are lingering questions whether the work done by MPs justifies this kind of salary.Eyebrows have also been raised over the fact that MPs give themselves the hike.Lawmakers counter that the salary given is too meagre for them to fulfill their myriad obligations to their voters and their constituencies.
CAG leaking classified defence secrets -Armed Forces Furious Over ORRs Placed In Public Domain,CAG Argues MoD Kept In Loop

New Delhi: The armed forces are increasingly getting furious with successive CAG reports divulging their classified operational readiness reports (ORRs) for all the world to see. Getting rapped for financial and procedural irregularities or diversion of funds to buy golf carts and delays in much-needed procurements is one thing but the armed forces are aghast that the operational availability of their aircraft,helicopters,submarines and other platforms as well as radars and missiles is being put in the public domain by CAG reports. Why make the jobs of our enemies easier To make matters worse,the latest reports are promptly uploaded on the CAG website,which can be accessed from anywhere in the world.CAG reports must have a classified section,which only a select few of the decision-makers must have access to, said a senior military officer.

While the Comptroller and Auditor General of India,Vinod Rai,could not be contacted since he was travelling abroad,another CAG official contended the reports were prepared in consultation with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Service concerned. Our mandate is that every audit report has to be laid in Parliament.The parliamentary public accounts committee subsequently takes it up.Once anything is tabled in Parliament,its in the public domain, he said. Moreover,dont newspapers regularly report on depleting levels of fighter squadrons in IAF and submarines in Navy Or,of the poor serviceability of MiG,Jaguar or reconnaissance aircraft fleets and the alarming gaps in radar coverage over central and peninsular India

Yes,they do,and often accurately.But they are still newspaper reports, said an IAF officer.In contrast,the reports of CAG,a constitutional authority with access to secret flying logs,equipment and sensor availability reports and other classified stuff,come with an official stamp of authenticity. Even if a CAG report describes a fighter only as X,any serious defence watcher will know which particular jet is being talked about.All this makes it easy for our adversaries to know our operational capabilities, the IAF officer said. The CAG reports are important.But are any such official reports available in the public domain in either Pakistan or China Warfare is all about keeping your enemies guessing about your capabilities, he added.

Take,for instance,Indias solitary 50-year-old aircraft carrier INS Viraat.A careful reading of the latest CAG report makes it clear Viraat may just be a paper tiger,left as it is with only eight upgraded Sea Harrier jump-jets to operate from its deck. Similarly,take Indias rapidlyshrinking underwater combat arm.As frequently reported by TOI,Navy is left with only 15 submarines 10 Russian Kilo-class,four German HDW and one virtually-obsolete Foxtrot at present.And the number may dip to just half by 2015 due to progressive retirements. Then came a CAG report which held that the operational availability of Indian submarines was as low as 48% due to an ageing fleet and prolonged refit schedules.In effect,this means that if India went to war with Pakistan,it will only have seven submarines to deploy.

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