The Union Shipping Ministry has given permission to the Andaman & Lakshadweep Harbour Works Department for a parallel sea route from Port Blair to Baratang in the Andamans.
The sea route will serve as the entry point to the northern islands and is expected to increase the flow of tourists to the island. The sea route will act as an alternate to the Andaman Trunk road which passes through a reserve forest area where the protected Jarawa Tribals live.
An earlier SC ruling had asked the Andaman and Nicobar administration to close the Andaman Trunk road and opt for sea route parallel to it instead. Later, the SC modified its earlier order so that the sea route and the roadway may exist and operate simultaneously.
PM Modi visited J&K on the occasion of Diwali to review the relief and rehabilitation efforts. In a press release he stated that ‘good governance, quick restoration of public infrastructure, revival of economic activity and creation of a conducive environment for bringing tourists to the state’ was the key to bringing back normalcy to J&K.
This is the PM’s second visit to J&K since it was affected by the floods.
Details of the Package
The Prime Minister has announced a Rs. 745 cr package to support the ongoing rehabilitation and renovation efforts in flood-hit J&K. vThe 745 cr package will be utilized for renovation of houses and six major hospitals which were damaged by the floods in J&K. Of this, 570 cr will be set aside for renovation of houses while the remaining 175 cr will be used for the immediate renovation work of the hospitals. This 175 cr will also cover costs for procurement of new equipments and machines for the hospitals.
The J&K government has been pressing for a Rs. 44,000 cr package.
Earlier, PM Modi had announced a Rs. 1,000 cr special assistance package for rehabilitation of the flood victims.
Constitution of Expert Committee
An expert committee under the Prime Minister’s Office has been constituted to oversee the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in J&K. The expert committee shall comprise of town planners, structural engineers, civil engineers, hydrologists, geologists, flood control experts and economists. These persons will be given the task of formulating and implementing a rehabilitation and reconstruction programme within a time frame and they will work directly under the PM.
The Defence Acquisition Council has given the clearance to defence projects amounting to 80,000 cr. Multiple deals that involve either upgradation of equipments or capability enhancement of the Navy were given approval. Other projects that have been approved are:-
- Indigenous production of six submarines
- Procurement of 8,000 Israeli anti-tank guided missiles
- Procurement of 12 upgraded Dornier surveillance aircraft with enhanced sensors from HAL at Rs. 1,850 cr
- Purchase of 8,356 Anti Tank Guided Missile from Israel worth Rs 3,200 cr (This is being bought instead of USA’s Javelin missile). The Army will also purchase 321 launchers for the missile
- Purchase of 362 infantry fighting vehicle from the Ordinance Factory Board in Medak, West Bengal for Rs 662 cr
- Purchase of 1,761 units of five spoke 7.5 tonne radio containers for Rs 662 cr and 1,768 critical rolling stock – open and closed wagons for transport of military equipments at a cost of Rs 740 cr from domestic vendors
- Purchase of equipments for classified operations of the Navy
Indigenous production of submarines
Six submarines equipped with land attack cruise missiles will be produced in India at a cost of Rs. 50,000 cr. This will be in furtherance of the Government’s Make in India initiative. A committee will be formed to make a study of both public and private shipyards to determine which of them have the capacity and manpower to build six submarines. After the study is completed, a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued to the port that has been identified by the study
About Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)
The DAC was setup in 2001, as one of the initiatives in the slew of reforms carried out after the Kargil War.
The Council evaluates the long-term integrated perspective plan for the Armed Forces, determines the necessity of acquiring equipment and gives approval to various defence deals. It also has to approve any changes in already approved acquisition processes. It also recommends major procurements to the CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) for approval.
The Council is chaired by the Defence Minister. The members of the Council include Defence Secretary, Chiefs of Army, Navy & Air Force, Chief of DRDO, amongst others.