Tuesday, April 7, 2015

e-book; ‘In Defence of the Nation’ a hit

Parrikar played editor for MoD’s e-book; ‘In Defence of the Nation’ a hit

Bengaluru, March 31: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar exhibited his editorial skills to perfection while putting together an e-book capturing the tasks, mandate and achievements of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) recently. The e-book titled ‘In Defence of the Nation' was released on March 5, fulfilling the requirement of Narendra Modi government, which had asked every ministry to bring out their achievements. Sources tell OneIndia that though MoD missed the deadline to submit the e-book, and was the last to do so, its crisp content, presentation and packaging caught the attention of many ministers in the Cabinet. With Parrikar's eye for detail playing the propelling factor, MoD's e-book is said to have overtaken other ministries by a fair margin. A total of 43 e-books have been brought out by various ministers under PM Modi's command. 

Parrikar wanted MoD to follow the Navy model Sources in the MoD confirm to OneIndia that Parrikar wasn't impressed with the first draft being shown to him. "He wanted the e-book to be different, packed with facts and figures. He kept on saying that the e-book must be useful for the people of India. He insisted that the final product should be technology-friendly so that people using smart phones and tablets have an easy reading," an official said. Impressed by a presentation made by the top brass of the Indian Navy, Prrikar is said to have instructed MoD officials to follow the same pattern for the e-book. The e-book's first draft hence came back to the MoD officials with the minister's remarks. "The minister asked us to take help from the Services, especially the Indian Navy, whose presentations often stood apart from the rest. He was also open to the idea of us taking external help to put together the e-book in an eye-catching and reader-friendly manner," the official said. NFDC checks in with its expertise The next stop for MoD was the renowned National Film Development Corporation (NFDC). "Two youngsters Vidya Mallik and Rupinder Kaur were roped in to infuse new ideas to the e-book. NFDC had earlier made a documentary for Indian Navy as well. They began to go through every page and decided to make the e-book visually more appealing," the official added. The team then began digging into the rich archives of the Directorate of Public Relations (DPR) with the help of the Photo Division under MoD, for photographs. "The team decided to give a thematic presentation for the front page cover. The book's name ‘In Defence of the Nation' was picked from a list of 15 names shortlisted by MoD," the official added. 50 pages of delight in 60 days All through this exercise, Parrikar kept a close watch on the progress of the e-book. Many drafts went to his office and came back with his suggestions. The whole exercise took around 60 days. "The idea to inset photographs and texts was given by the minister. He said that the internet connectivity in some areas in the country was poor and hence people should not get disappointed while downloading the e-book," the official said. A rare grab from the 1962 war showing Indian soldiers walking near Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh, too adorns the 50-page e-book of MoD. Sitanshu Kar, Spokesperson, MoD, said that the e-book will be updated periodically. "This was one of the first directions given to us. In the days ahead, you can find some more proactive measures from the DPR," Kar added. The e-book ‘In Defence of the Nation' is now hosted on the website of Press Information Bureau. (The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is the Consultant Editor (Defence) with OneIndia. He tweets @writetake.)

250 officers join legal battle against Army

Question Policy On Promotions
In what indicates towards a massive divide in the armed forces, almost 250 officers from services (non-combat branches) and other wings, apart from infantry and artillery, have joined a litigation against the army .After the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) issued a verdict, quashing a promotion policy to the rank of colonel, introduced in 2009, army has moved the apex court.
As the final hearing is due on April 15, close to 200 officers have joined the litigation now to be heard in the apex court.The case was originally filed at AFT by a group of 30 officers.
An official in the lawyers' firm representing the officers who had moved AFT confirmed the development. He said close to 200 new applications to join the litigation in the Supreme Court had reached their office. The officers who challenged the promotion policy were represented by Delhi-based Meenakshi Lekhi, who is also a Lok Sabha member. Some officers are joining the case through other lawyers as well, which may push the figure above 200.
The basic contention was the command exit policy introduced in 2009. It called for a shorter tenure for an infantry officer to stay as a battalion's commanding officer (CO). The post is held after reaching the rank of a colonel. As colonels exit CO's post in 2.5 years in infantry as against 4 years in other branches, this created faster vacancies for those down the line to take up this rank. The petitioners, who were from services, had claimed that the policy was heavily tilted to wards infantry leading to violation of Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees equality . This is probably for the first time when so many officers have come together as a single group to fight a lawsuit against the army .
“In case, AFT's decision is upheld in the SC, joining the litigation may bring them the benefit too, especially if the ruling covered only the petitioners. However, apart from it, the officers are also taking it as a show of strength,“ said a source involved in this affair.
The original petition started with five officers but the number reached 30 when the case finally reached AFT. This time even officers from armoured and mechanized infantry have joined the case.
The officers have already openly expressed their differences on the social media, in relation to the promotion policy . Personnel from both infantry and services have been panning each other on Facebook. Those from infantry argue that it is them who take the bullet and so must get some privileges.
Kuldip Nayar

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