Defence Ministry Current Affairs - 2019
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The Union Defence Ministry has sanctioned raising of Territorial Army (TA) battalion comprising ex-servicemen of Indian Army as part of its mission to clean the Ganga by 2020. It has been named as Composite Ecological Task Force (CETF) battalion of TA for National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the nodal agency for cleaning Ganga.
The CETF battalion will be raised in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh as a pilot project. For this government has allocated Rs 167 crore under NMCG. The battalion will work on book debit system with funding provided from budget of Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
The CETF TA battalion will be commanded by Colonel-rank officer. It will have 8 officers, 20 JCOs and around 500 other ranks on its roll. For the task, it will only enroll ex-servicemen, who will be embodied under TA rules.
Functions of CETF TA
It will be responsible for monitoring ecological and environmental projects related to Ganga River, and also raise public awareness through campaigns. It will also patrol sensitive river areas for the protection of biodiversity, keep a tab on the river pollution levels, plant trees and check soil erosion.
It will also assist government in enforcing pollution control measures, support local civil administration and police in managing the ghats, and provide support and assistance if and when there is flood or natural disaster in region.
Territorial Army which comes under Defence Ministry is considered a second line of defence after the regular Army. So far 9 Ecological Task Force (ETF) battalions of TA have been raised to execute specific environment-related projects.
The proposal for raising CETF TA battalion had emanated from Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare in Defence Ministry, which took up case in 2014 for cleaning Ganga. The proposal was vetted and approved by Defence ministry and was forwarded to NMCG. After an approval from NMCG in 2017, the Defence Ministry concurred and issued a Government Sanction Letter in December 2017.
The Defence Ministry has given its final approvals for the procurement of 131 Barak missiles for Indian Navy and 240 precision-guided munitions (PGM) for Indian Air Force (IAF) together estimated at Rs.1,714 crore. The proposals were cleared by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. It is a regular procurement through the revenue expenditure.
Precision-guided munitions (PGM)
The 240 KAB-1500 PGMs will be procured from Rosoboronexport of Russia at a cost of Rs.1,254 crore. PGM is variant of the KAB PGMs. It has been in service of IAF and has been employed by Su-30 fighter jets. Due to the value of the contract, the approval of Defence Ministry was required,” a defence official said. This procurement will address the deficiency of Precision Guided Munitions in IAF arsenal and also enhance offensive capabilities of the IAF.
Barak surface-to-air missiles (SAM)
131 Barak surface-to-air missiles (SAM) and associated equipment will be bought from Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd for Rs.460 crore. They will be installed on all frontline warships of the Indian Navy. These are SAM designed to be used as a ship-borne anti-missile defence system.