Citizens' Issues
A glass ceiling is broken in year that gave boost to defence manufacturing
The year saw a glass ceiling being broken with the Indian Air Force's decision to allow women into the fighter stream
 
The Make in India initiative got a huge push with Russia agreeing to manufacture upwards of 200 light helicopters in India, a move that once again made it this country's top supplier of military hardware, while purchases worth over Rs.2 lakh crore ($30 billion) were approved.
 
The year saw a glass ceiling being broken with the Indian Air Force's decision to allow women into the fighter stream, while the Indian Navy submitted a proposal for inducting women as surveillance pilots.
 
At the same time, going ahead with its new "offensive-defensive" policy, India launched a first-of-its kind surgical operation, attacking terror camps along the India-Myanmar border.
 
The year also witnessed diversification in India's defence partners, with the US entering the field prominently in the beginning of the year. France was also in the limelight due to the still-to-be-concluded for 36 Rafale combat jets. Russia, however, reemerged as the key partner at the fag end of the year following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit. Russia accounted for 70 percent of India's arms imports in 2010-14, will build the Kamov Ka-226 helicopters in India and will also fabricate 12 new nuclear reactors at two sites.
 
The year began with US President Barack Obama being the chief guest at the Republic Day parade and this was followed by a new Defence Framework Agreement being signed in June.
 
The two sides also agreed to pursue projects that will offer tangible opportunities for American defence industries to build partnership with the Indian industries including in manufacturing under the Make in India initiative.
 
On the acquisition front a Request for Proposal (RFP) was cleared for six more Scorpene submarines under the P75 Project for around Rs.80,000 crore. This will add to the six that are currently being built at Mumbai's Mazagon Dock Ltd.
 
The Indian Army got clearance to buy 145 BaE Systems M777 ultra-light howitzers for Rs. 2,900 crore through the Foreign Military Sales route.
 
This apart, a new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) gives priority to indigenous products.
 
The defence ministry has said it has got a "positive response" from both within the country and globally - from countries like Israel, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the US - to the Make in India initiative. Since its launch some 18 months ago, 61 companies have obtained 81 Industrial Licences (ILs) for manufacture of various defence equipment.
 
On his part, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar set an ambitious target of achieving 50 percent indigenisation by 2017, and up to 60-70 percent in next five years.
 
In Parrikar's words, the mission in expediting defence procurement is also about changing a "mindset of mistrust" that he said developed over the last ten years.
 
And, in an important step targeting speedy indigenisation, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit was raised from 26 percent to 49 percent through approval route. Proposals above this would be considered on a case-to-case basis.
 
Also, the defence products list for the purpose of industrial licensing was substantively shortened and notified, as was a defence exports strategy for faster clearances.
 
Interaction with industry was identified as a key area for pushing the domestic defence sector, and a Make in India website was launched for it, promising replies to queries in three days.
 
The private sector figured significantly in big-ticket deals.
 
The fag end of the year saw Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems announcing a joint venture to manufacture aerostructures for aircraft and collaborate on integrated systems, while the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group signed an agreement with Russia's AlmazAntey to work jointly on a range of air defence missile and radar systems for the Indian defence forces.
 
As for the western border, 2015 saw a decline in infiltrations to 92 (till September 30) from 264 in 2012 and 221 in 2014.
 
A number of joint exercises were witnessed. The Indian Army engaged in counter-terrorism and humanitarian aid exercise 'Hand in Hand' with China, Indra with Russia, and Yudh Abhyas with the US.
 
The Indian Air Force participated in Indradhanush-IV with the Royal Air Force and in a drill with the Republic of Singapore Air Force.
 
The Indian Navy engaged with France in exercise Varuna off Goa, SIMBEX with Singapore, Ausindex with Australia and Malabar with the US and Japan.
 
Indian Navy vessels also visited several countries for port calls and other engagements with Egypt, Iran, Israel, Japan, the Phillipines, Qatar, South Korea, Spain, the UAE and Vietnam.
 
The defence ministry announced a long-awaited One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme, which takes 2013 as the base year and takes the average of the upper and lower pensions of a rank to fix new pensions, also protecting those who are above the average. Revisions will take place every five years. The veterans, however, continued their agitation, stating that the government scheme is not true to the definition of OROP.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article. 

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No Diaries this New Year!
Productivity tools and hazard detectors make life a breeze for users of smart devices
 
One of my favourite productivity tools is Evernote (www.evernote.com). Evernote makes it easy to remember things, big and small, from your everyday life, using your computer, phone, tablet and the Web. You can write notes on any of your devices and they will be automatically synchronised with all your other devices. If you are in a meeting and taking notes on your tablet or phone, the minute you login to your office/home computer, you will find them there! 
The beauty of this elegant piece of software is that it is truly cross-platform. It supports iOS, Blackberry, Windows and Android on smartphones and tablets and Mac 
 
OS X, Windows, Safari, Chrome and Firefox on Computers. It just synchronises seamlessly.
Your notes could be text, audio, picture notes, checklists or even sketches. So, remember everything, access anywhere and find things f-a-a-a-a-s-t! Best of all, it is free to install on each one of your devices. Free accounts have a 60MB (megabytes) upload limit per month; but I have never even reached half of it in any month. For advanced features, you may go in for a paid version which is available in two flavours. My current favourite; no gifts of diaries for me for the New Year!
 
Google Calendar 
If you are a regular user of Gmail (900 million active users, why not you?), I have a bunch of productivity tools lined up for you. One of the most used is the Google Calendar. It helps organise your life seamlessly!  Simple calendar options are there by default. If someone sends you a mail which has the time, date and place for a possible meeting, you have the option to directly add it to your calendar from your inbox itself—no need to manually add it to your calendar. Recurring appointments and reminders are a breeze. You can add attachments to your calendar entry and you can also show the time as busy. Many more features are inbuilt for you to explore; but, then, I would run out of space here! Google Calendar is also now available as an App for download on Android devices and it remains synced always. Just try it; I’m sure you will be hooked: don’t tell me you were not warned!
 
Write to me at [email protected] if you would like to have more Gmail productivity tools and I will cover them in my future columns.
 
EMF Hazards Detector 
These days, one is exposed to so much radiation—the television, speakers, cellphone towers and your microwave oven; even your cordless telephone emits radiation. Most of it is safe. But what if it is not? You can buy a Gauss meter to measure the accurate value. However, your smartphone can also be converted as a simple Gauss meter. Use your Android Smartphone to detect such hazards emanating from electromagnetic fields (EMF) with the EMF Hazards Detector. This application will sound the alarm when an abnormal EMF field is detected. The screen colour will also turn from healthy green to dangerous red. So, scan your home and office now and find your level of exposure. Proceed to Google Play and download this light and simple to use app. To acess go to: http://tinyurl.com/b36bbbo
 
Simple Unit Converter
Often, one needs to make simple unit conversions without wading through a complex calculator. The Simple Unit Converter does just that! Once you download and run the app, you are presented with a simple screen with the following options: length, volume, weight, temperature, speed and others. Just tap on any one, based on your need, and choose the units to and from. Voila! You get the conversions instantly. A must-have for those who have children abroad, who quote the temperatures in Fahrenheit and go crazy trying to figure them in Centigrade! This is available at http://tinyurl.com/qfljsz6
 
Yazdi Tantra is a chartered accountant by training, computer consultant by profession, entrepreneur-developer by hobby and trainer in his leisure time. He is currently the vice-chairman of Zoroastrian Co-operative Bank Ltd and has been running a medium-sized computer company ON-LYNE for the past 24 years. 

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COMMENTS

SUNIL KUMAR HEMNANI

11 months ago

A very simple yet useful site , thanks for the information .

Delzin

11 months ago

I love Evernote!
Have not used the hazards detector yet. will try it out!
Thanks!

MG Warrier

11 months ago

All these innovations are 'revolutionary' and welcome. My comment here is from a different angle and refers only to the caption. Last week, I came across a CRY diary. I loved the idea of diary as a gift, if the format used by CRY is used. The diary has months and dates. For February after the date 28, there are two blank pages on which date is not printed. The year and week days are conspicuous by their absence. The advantage is, the person who gets it can start using the diary any year. And, for individuals like me, the diary can be used for more than one year, as I do not crowd the pages.

REPLY

Delzin

In Reply to MG Warrier 11 months ago

As the 'keeper of diaries' I would love a diary as a gift but being a busy new mom, honestly what comes to my rescue is my handy phone with apps that synchronize my calendars and notes. I can have my appointments on the go, make notes in the grocery check out line and leave voice notes as I drive!

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