‘Agniveers' are about meritocracy and accountability, will officers follow suit?
The Ministry of External Affairs has recommended compulsory retirement of two senior IFS officers under clause 56 J of Fundamental Rules this month as the Modi government moves towards merit cum seniority not the other way around.
Amidst all the noise, outrage and uncalled-for arson over the 'Agnipath' model of military recruitment, selected 'Agniveers' at the end of the day will represent victory of merit over long practiced mediocrity in the Government of India. It will also, in turn, impose accountability at the level of commanding officers and generals who, in the past, routinely got away with 10/10 outstanding appraisals and promotions.
That the NarendraModi government is for merit-cum-seniority, and not the other way around, and is clear on removing bureaucratic deadwood despite legal hurdles, is evident in the appointment of military chiefs, particularly in the case of present Army chief General ManojPande and the late General BipinRawat in the near past.
The Ministry of External Affairs has now also joined this bandwagon of holding bureaucrats accountable for their work by recommending compulsory retirement this month of two senior Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers under clause 56 J of the Fundamental Rules.
Although Hindustan Times will not disclose the names of the officers concerned, the decision has sent shock-waves within the hallowed diplomatic establishment as the MEA has decided not to tolerate mediocrity and a casual attitude.
While the Finance Ministry has taken similar action under 56 J against several IRS officers, the government should also initiate similar action in other civil service branches, even though appointments to posts like Secretary to Government of India or Director General of Police are done after much due diligence.
Hundreds of thousands evacuated in China after heaviest rains in decades
The heaviest rainfall in decades has triggered floods and landslides in southern China, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people, state media reported.
The downpours have dangerously swelled waterways in the low-lying Pearl River basin in recent days, threatening manufacturing, shipping and logistics operations at a time when supply chains are already stressed because of China's strict Covid-19 controls.
The average rainfall in Guangdong, Fujian and Guangxi provinces between early May and the middle of June reached 621 millimetres (24 inches), the highest since 1961, according to China's National Meteorological Center.
State media photos showed people huddled on camp beds in schools converted into temporary shelters in Guangdong's Shaoguan city, and hundreds of tents erected on a sports ground.
In neighbouring Guangxi region, muddy water was seen flooding urban areas and emergency rescuers were seen evacuating villagers on rubber dinghies, according to state media images.
The evacuees were among almost 480,000 people impacted by the rains and floods, according to the officials.
Shaoguan issued a red flood alert -- the most serious -- Tuesday morning, after multiple rural counties and the major city of Foshan upgraded their flood warnings in recent days.
Guangxi was hit by the heaviest floods since 2005, local media reported.
Meteorological authorities that 28 of Guangxi's rivers had exceeded warning levels, with rains continuing.
Govt extends telecom PLI scheme by a year, ups incentive by Rs 4,000 cr
The government has extended the productivity-linked incentive scheme for the telecom industry by another year and has expanded its scope to cover design-led manufacturing. The Centre will provide additional incentives of over Rs 4,000 crore under the amended scheme.
The Department of Telecommunications said the decision to amend the scheme was taken following consultation with stakeholders who had complained of stiff incremental and production targets for the first year 2021-22.
The department had notified the PLI scheme last February with an allocation of Rs 12,195 crore. Thirty-one companies were selected under the scheme last October. The beneficiaries will be able to select 2021-22 or 2022-23 as the first year for availing the incentives.
The policy has also been amended with the aim of building a strong ecosystem for 5G, the government said.
Applicants will have to satisfy the minimum global revenue criteria to be eligible under the scheme. Companies may invest in single or multiple eligible products.
The scheme stipulates a minimum investment threshold of Rs 10 crore for MSME and Rs 100 crore for non MSME applicants. Land and building cost will not be counted as investment. The eligibility shall also be subject to incremental sales of manufactured goods (covered under scheme target segments) over the base year (FY2019-20). The allocation for MSME has been enhanced from Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 2,500 crore, it added.
Andy Murray says still planning to play at Wimbledon 2022
Andy Murray said he remains on course to play at Wimbledon even though he is still being hampered by an abdominal injury which has left him unable to practice fully.
The 35-year-old Briton, who won the grasscourt Grand Slam in 2013 and 2016, sustained the injury during his Stuttgart Open final loss to MatteoBerrettini on June 12.
The former world number one withdrew from last week's Queen's Club Championships and is racing to be fit for Wimbledon, which begins on June 27.
"The plan is still to play. The injury is improving. I've had it rescanned and it's progressing in the right way," Murray told British media.