Cabinet Committee on Security Current Affairs
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The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is set to move a proposal before Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for taking over Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).
BCAS, currently under the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) is responsible for laying down standards, policies and measures with regard to security of all commercial flights. Multiple security agencies working at airports, including immigration officials, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) security personnel, local police and Intelligence Bureau (IB) are bound by regulations passed by BCAS.
The decision is based on security audit conducted by team of experts from MHA, IB, CISF and BCAS which had recommended change. Once CCS gives its approval, CISF will assume larger role in airport security. The new set-up will help in better coordination and monitoring, since CISF, IB and state intelligence all report to MHA.
It will also speed up issue of security clearances for airlines and airports as in the past, there have been inordinate delays in granting clearances due to differences between MHA and MoCA on grounds that airlines and airports have not complied with norms despite guidelines. The move may also result in increase in passenger security fee since CISF will be deployed at all 98 airports across country.
Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS)
It was set up as a cell in Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in 1978, after an Indian Airlines flight was hijacked in September 1976. BCAS was reorganised as an independent department under MoCA in April 1987, as follow-up to Kanishka bombing in June 1985. It is currently headed by a commissioner of security.
The Union Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved implementation of first phase of reforms pertaining to the Indian Army based on recommendations of Lt Gen Shekatkar Committee.
The purpose of reforms is to enhance combat capability and also optimize and rebalance defence expenditure of Indian Army in phased manner by December 2019. It is first ever reform exercise to be undertaken in Indian Army since independence.
The first phase of reforms involves
- Redeployment and restructuring of approximately 57,000 posts of officers/Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs)/ Other Ranks (ORs) and civilians.
- Optimisation of signals establishments: Its purpose is to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
- Restructuring of repair echelons in Army: Its purpose is to include Base Workshops, Advance Base Workshops and Station Workshops in the field Army.
- Redeployment of Ordnance echelons: Its purpose is to include Vehicle Depots, Central Ordnance Depots and Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
- Other Reforms: Better utilization of Supply and Transport echelons and Animal Transport units. Closure of army postal establishments and military farms in peace locations. Enhancement of standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in Army. Improving efficiency of National Cadet Corps (NCC).
The Union Ministry of Defence had constituted a Committee of Experts under Chairmanship of Lt Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar for recommending measures to enhance combat capability & rebalancing defence expenditure of Armed Forces with an aim to increase “teeth to tail ratio”.
The committee had submitted around 99 recommendations. So far, Defence Ministry has approved 65 of these recommendations pertaining to Indian Army for implementation. Remaining 34 recommendations pertaining to Indian Navy, Air Force and Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) are likely to be taken up soon.
These reforms will be completed in all respects by December 2019. The committee had suggested that, if these recommendations are implemented over the next five years, it can result in savings of up to Rs. 25,000 crore in defence expenditure.