Defence Ministry Current Affairs - 2019
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The Government of India has approved Union Ministry of Defence proposal for restoration of ‘ration in kind’ to military officers stationed in peace areas. This is one of the first major decisions taken by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh after he assumed the new portfolio role in Modi government’s 2nd term.
Background: On 1 July 2017, government had taken the decision that instead of free ration in kind facility defence officers would be given certain allowance. This decision to withdraw provision of ration in kind, a practice that was being followed since 1983 was based on a recommendation of 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC). Initially the ration in kind facility was applicable only to junior officers but was subsequently extended to all ranks. The MoD decision to cancel free ration for officers in peace postings met with criticism from several quarters within the three armed forces services.
Allowance: Defence forces had told Defence Ministry that in case if ration in kind facility was discontinued then an allowance of Rs.205.11/officer/day without tax exemptions must be paid. However, central government decided only an amount of Rs.96 as allowance. Later a cost analysis was done which revealed that in case of free ration cost came up to Rs.100 per officer per day.
Importance: Now after restoration of ration in kind facility all officers of armed forces, including those in peace stations, will be getting ration. This result of restoration is due to a lot of effort from all levels in Defence Ministry and Indian Armed Forces.
The Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) framework under the Defence Ministry is envisaging setting up of independent Defence Innovation Hubs (DIHs) where innovators can get information about needs and feedback from the Armed Services directly and create solutions for India’s major defence platforms. Defence Innovation Hubs are aimed at attracting more innovators to work for the defence sector in India.
Guidelines for Setting up of Defence Innovation Hubs
The Framework to Fund Defence Innovation Hubs under iDEX has been approved by the Board of Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO). The framework prescribes the following minimum criterion for setting up Defence Innovation Hubs: Any Central Government recognized Incubator including but not limited to:
- Department of Science and Technology (DST) recognized Incubators.
- Atal Innovation Mission, NITIAayog created Atal Incubation Centers (AICs) and Established Incubation Centers (EICs).
- Ministry of MSME recognized incubators.
- Any other incubator recognized or funded through any Central government scheme.
- The incubator located in districts mentioned in the list of SME clusters hosted by the Ministry of MSME in collaboration with UNIDO.
- Incubator / Hub promoted by local industry associations.
The Defence Innovation Organisation set up under iDEX has announced setting up of two DIHs in Tamil Nadu (Coimbatore) and Maharashtra (Nashik).
Defence Innovation Organisation
Defence Innovation Organisation is a not for profit company under section 8 of the Companies Act. The Defence Innovation Organisation is funded by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). The headquarters of the Defence Innovation Organisation is located at Bengaluru.
Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) scheme
Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) scheme aims to create an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, Startups, Individual Innovators, R&D institutes and Academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D which has good potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs. The Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) functions as the executive arm of the Defence Innovation Organisation.