Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched E-Chhawani portal and mobile app in New Delhi on Tuesday. The portal (https://echhawani.gov.in/) has been created to provide online civic services to over 20 lakh residents of 62 Cantonment Boards across the country. Through the portal, the residents of cantonment areas will be able to avail basic services like renewal of leases, application for birth and death certificates, water and sewerage connections, trade licences, mobile toilet locators and payment of different types of taxes and fees, with just a click of a button.
The portal, jointly developed by eGov Foundation, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE) and National Informatics Centre (NIC), provides a platform to the residents to avail these services from the comfort of their home.
Speaking at the launch, the Defence Minister reiterated the government’s commitment of socio-economic development of the country by providing maximum facilities to the people and making the administration efficient and transparent. He said the government is striving to make the system citizen-friendly and provide services that facilitate ‘ease of living’ and ‘ease of doing’ for the people. Initiatives like ‘Minimum Government-Maximum Governance’, Digital India and E-Governance were launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promote good governance and ease of living for the people, the minister said, adding that the launch of the E-Chhawani portal is a big step in that direction.
Rajnath Singh described the E-Chhawani portal as an innovative effort to transform the functioning of Cantonment Boards, in line with the vision of ‘New India’. He expressed confidence that the portal will ensure effectiveness and transparency of the services distribution system of the Cantonment Boards and provide time-bound solutions to the residents. Rajnath Singh asked the concerned officers to periodically gather the feedback of beneficiaries in order to make the portal more citizen friendly. Rajnath Singh also stated that in the last few years, India has emerged as a global powerhouse and a land of opportunities due to its strong presence in the fields of defence, economy, trade, IT, agriculture & investment.
In his address, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar said, on the portal, the process of availing the services has been simplified for the benefit of the residents of Cantonment areas. He said, more services like filing of property and building tax, collection of rent and booking of community centres will soon be added to the Aadhaar-enabled portal. Dr Ajay Kumar congratulated eGov Foundation, BEL, DGDE and NIC for completing the E-Chhawani project that encompassed 62 independent portals in a short time. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, DG Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE) Deepa Bajwa and other senior civil and military officials of Ministry of Defence were present on the occasion.
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EASTERN FLEET SHIPS ON OVERSEAS OPERATIONAL DEPLOYMENT
In pursuit of India’s ‘Act East’ policy and to enhance military cooperation with friendly countries, a Task Force of Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet is scheduled to proceed on an Overseas Deployment to South East Asia, the South China Sea and Western Pacific from early Aug 2021 for over two months. The deployment of the Indian Navy ships seeks to underscore the operational reach, peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain and to strengthen existing bonds between India and countries of the Indo Pacific.
The Indian Naval task group comprises Guided Missile Destroyer Ranvijay, Guided Missile Frigate Shivalik, Anti-Submarine Corvette Kadmatt and Guided Missile Corvette Kora. The latter three ships are indigenously designed and are equipped with a versatile array of weapons and sensors, and are Made in India by Defence Shipyards.During the deployment in the Indo Pacific, the ships are scheduled to participate in bilateral exercises with Vietnamese Peoples’ Navy, Republic of Philippines Navy, Republic of Singapore Navy (SIMBEX), Indonesian Navy (Samudra Shakti) and Royal Australian Navy (AUS-INDEX). Further, they would also participate in multilateral exercise MALABAR-21 alongside the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force, Royal Australian Navy and the United States Navy in Western Pacific.
The Indian Navy undertakes regular deployments to friendly foreign countries and Indian and the Pacific Ocean regions in furtherance of the Prime Minister’s initiative of ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region – SAGAR’. Further, such engagements build ‘Bridges of Friendship’ and strengthen international cooperation. These maritime initiatives enhance synergy and coordination between the Indian Navy and friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and commitment towards Freedom of Navigation at sea. Besides regular port calls, the task group will operate in conjunction with friendly navies, to build military relations and develop interoperability in the conduct of maritime operations.
BORDER ROADS ORGANISATION CONSTRUCTS HIGHEST MOTORABLE ROAD IN THE WORLD IN EASTERN LADAKH
Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has constructed and black-topped the highest motorable road in the world at 19,300 ft at Umlingla Pass in Eastern Ladakh, creating a record in high-altitude road construction. It has constructed a 52-km long tarmac road through Umlingla Pass, bettering the previous record of a road in Bolivia connecting to its volcano Uturuncu at 18,953 ft.The road now connects the important towns in Chumar sector of Eastern Ladakh. It will prove to be a boon to the local population as it offers an alternate direct route connecting Chisumle and Demchok from Leh. It will enhance the socio-economic condition and promote tourism in Ladakh.
Infrastructure development in such harsh and tough terrain is extremely challenging. During the winter, the temperature dips to -40 degrees and the oxygen level at this altitude is almost 50 percent less than at normal places. The BRO has achieved the feat due to the grit and resilience of its personnel who work in treacherous terrain and extreme weather conditions.The road has been constructed at an altitude higher than the Mt Everest Base Camps as the South Base Camp in Nepal is at an altitude of 17,598 ft, while North Base Camp in Tibet is at 16,900 ft. The road has been constructed much above the altitude of Siachen Glacier which is at 17,700 ft. The Khardung La Pass in Leh is at an altitude of 17,582 ft.
INS TABAR ENTERS PORT STOCKHOLM
INS Tabar, as part of the ongoing Overseas Deployment, entered Port Stockholm last week. This is the first visit of an Indian Navy Ship to Stockholm in nearly two decades. The ship was received by Brig Gen Peder Ohlsson, Deputy Chief of Royal Swedish Navy and Group Captain Pankaj Mittal, Indian Defence Attache (DA) at Sweden. Subsequently, Deputy Chief of Royal Swedish Navy visited the ship and was presented a Guard of Honour onboard. During the walk around, he was explained about the key functionalities of the ship. While extending a warm welcome, he conveyed that Tabar visit to Stockholm would only consolidate the long standing ties between the Indian Navy and the Royal Swedish Navy. Captain Mahesh Mangipudi, the Commanding Officer (CO) presented him with the ship’s crest on completion of the visit.
The Commanding Officer, INS Tabar accompanied by DA, called on Mr Tanmaya Lal, the Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia at the Indian Embassy in Stockholm. The CO briefed the Ambassador on the ship’s current deployment and presented him the ship’s crest. The Indian Ambassador during his visit to the ship on 31 Jul 21, conveyed his appreciation for the role played by the Indian Navy in safeguarding the maritime interests of the country, diplomacy through Port Visits and in undertaking HADR tasks as and when needed. The CO also called on the Commandant of Stockholm, Col Thomas Karlsson at the Royal Palace. He was accorded a ceremonial welcome with a Guard of Honour by the Royal Guard. The Commandant and the CO held discussions regarding the current deployment and other issues of mutual interest. A reception for limited guests, adhering to all COVID protocols; was hosted by INS Tabar. Maj Gen Jonas Wikman, Deputy Chief of Joint Operations of the Swedish Armed Forces was the Chief Guest. He was appreciative about the Indian Navy Ship visit to Stockholm and added that the two Navies have considerable potential to partner in combating common maritime concerns.
SEA TRIALS OF INDIGENOUS AIRCRAFT CARRIER ‘VIKRANT’ BEGIN
The ship has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1,700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers.
Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) ‘Vikrant’ designed by Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design(DND) is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited(CSL), a Public Sector Shipyard under Ministry of Shipping(MoS). IAC is a leading example of the nation’s quest for ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ with more than 76% indigenous content. This is the maiden attempt of the Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard to indigenously design and build an Aircraft Carrier.
The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is 262 m long, 62 m at the widest part and height of 59 m including the superstructure. There are 14 decks in all, including five in the superstructure. The ship has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers. The ship has been designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability, ‘Vikrant’ has a top speed of around 28 knots and cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles. The ship can accommodate an assortment of fixed wing and rotary aircraft.
Most of the ship construction activities have been completed and the ship has entered the trials phase. Readiness of ship’s Propulsion and Power Generation equipment/ systems was tested in harbour as part of Basin Trials in Nov 20. Progress of construction of the Carrier was reviewed by Raksha Mantri during his visit to the ship on 25 Jun 21. Though the commencement of Sea Trials was delayed due to the 2nd wave of COVID, with concentrated and dedicated efforts of large number of workmen, OEMs, engineers, overseers, inspectors, designers and the ship’s crew, who had put their heart and soul towards the ship’s readiness for sea trials. This is a major milestone activity and historical event. Reaching this milestone is significant as they have been achieved barring the current pandemic challenges and imponderables. During the maiden sailing, ship’s performance, including hull, main propulsion, PGD and auxiliary equipment would be closely watched.
With the delivery of IAC, India would join a select group of nations with the capability to indigenously design and build an Aircraft Carrier, which will be a real testimony to the ‘Make in India’ thrust of the Indian Government.The Indigenous construction of Aircraft Carrier is a shining example in the Nation’s quest for ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India Initiative’. This has led to growth in indigenous design and construction capabilities besides development of large number of ancillary industries, with employment opportunities for 2000 CSL personnel and about 12000 employees in ancillary industries. Over 76% indigenous content towards procurement of equipment, besides work by CSL and their subcontractors is being directly invested back into the Indian economy. Around 550 Indian firms including about 100 MSMEs are registered with CSL, who are providing various services for construction of IAC.Indian Navy’s ship building programme is rightly poised to provide requisite ‘Economic Stimulus’, with 44 ships & submarines on order being built indigenously.
AIR MARSHAL SURAJ KUMAR JHA ASSUMES CHARGE AS AIR OFFICER IN CHARGE PERSONNEL
Air Marshal Suraj Kumar Jha has assumed the appointment of Air Officer in Charge Personnel at Air HQ. The Air Marshal was commissioned in the Fighter stream of IAF on 08 June 1984. In a career spanning 37 years, the Air Officer has flown over 2900 hours, including operational flying on a wide variety of fighter aircraft in the inventory of IAF.
During his career, the Air Officer has held numerous important appointments. He was the Commanding Officer of a front-line fighter squadron and has also commanded a premier fighter base. As an Air Vice Marshal, he held the coveted appointments of Air Officer Commanding Advance Headquarters, Commandant of College of Air Warfare, Assistant Chief of Integrated Defence Staff at Head Quarter IDS and Joint Secretary (Air) at the newly established Department of Military Affairs under Ministry of Defence. As an Air Marshal prior to taking over the present appointment, he was Deputy Chief of the Air Staff at Air HQ. The Air Marshal is an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College Wellington. In recognition of his service, the Air Marshal was awarded Mention-in-Despatches in 1999 for Kargil Ops and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 2021.
INS KHANJAR MAKES MAIDEN VISIT TO GOPALPUR PORT
Indian Naval Ship Khanjar becomes the first Indian Navy ship to call at the heritage coastal port of Gopalpur in Odisha. The two-day visit which concluded on Monday was organised as part of Aazadi ka Amrit Mahotsav as well as Swarnim Vijay Varsh celebrations to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Independence and the 50th anniversary of the 1971 War. The maiden visit of the Naval Ship was aimed at enhancing ties and spreading awareness with the local populace on aspects of coastal security and maritime operations.
During the visit, ship’s officers interacted with Port Officials and discussed aspects related to berthing facilities for OTR of Naval ships and security overview of port infrastructure. The ship’s team also undertook a cleanup drive at Gopalpur beach and tree plantation in the port premises. In addition, books and dry provisions were distributed to Samarth Orthopedically Handicapped Welfare Association, at Chatrapur in Ganjam district.
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