The News Editorial Analysis 26th Jan 2022

The News Editorial Analysis 26th Jan 2022

The News Editorial Analysis 26th Jan 2022

SC seeks ECI, govt. response on ‘irrational poll freebies’

The News Editorial Analysis 26th Jan 2022

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought responses from the Union government and the Election Commission of India (ECI) on the continued ‘tamasha’ of political parties promising or distributing ‘irrational freebies’ using public funds.A Bench of Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli issued notice to the Centre and the EC.A plea was filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, represented by senior advocate Vikas Singh, to issue stringent guidelines to deregister errant political parties and seize their election symbols.“The ‘tamasha’ has been going on for decades. Promises always remain as promises. Most of them, except freebies, are not implemented,” the petition said and contended that the offer of these freebies amounted to bribery and undue influence.

The court, however, drew a skeptical note about how Mr. Upadhyay, in his plea, named only a few, select political parties and States. Mr. Upadhyay said he did not mean to target only a few parties and offered to make all political parties respondents in the plea.The court said it would start, for the time being, by issuing notice to the Centre and the ECI, which have been named respondents now. The court listed the case after four weeks.In the hearing, Mr. Singh submitted that parties, even in debt-ridden States, were promising/distributing freebies to garner votes and to create an uneven playing field before polls.Mr. Singh said the Election Commission’s guidelines on the freebies, issued after a Supreme Court judgment in the Subramaniam Balaji case, reported in 2013, were “toothless”.“Promise/distribution of irrational freebies from public fund before election unduly influences the voters, shakes the roots of free-fair election, disturbs level playing field and also violates Articles 14, 162, 266(3) and 282,” the plea said.


Centre to remind States again of IAS cadre rules

Seven BJP-ruled States give consent; eight States oppose planThe Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) will send another reminder to States to respond to its proposal to amend the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954, with which Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) officers could be deputed to the Union government and Ministries without necessarily taking the State government’s nod.So far, 16 States have responded. Seven States — Haryana, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Arunachal Pradesh, all governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — have given their consent to the proposal.Five States — Odisha, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and West Bengal — have responded to the DoPT, opposing the amendments.The Chief Ministers of three other States — Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana — have written to the Prime Minister to register their opposition. A senior government official said that January 25 was the deadline to respond but as many States have not sent their replies, the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions will send another reminder this week.

The Union government is facing an acute shortage of All India Services (AIS) officers, and despite existing provisions, States are not sponsoring adequate numbers of officers for Central deputation, and the available officers are not sufficient to meet requirements, the DoPT has said. As reported by The Hindu, the DoPT had earlier sent three letters on December 20, December 27, and January 6, seeking comments from the States, but after half-a-dozen States opposed the move and the rest did not respond, it further revised the proposal on January 12.

The initial proposal (of December 20), only had two amendments — first, States had to send a list of all officers available for the Central deputation reserve, and the “actual number of officers to be deputed… shall be decided by the Central Government in consultation with State Government concerned”; and second, in case of any disagreement, the State will give effect to the decision of the Centre “within a specified time”. In its revised proposal on January 12, which has been vigorously opposed by Opposition-ruled States, the DoPT added two more amendments — if the State government delays posting a State cadre officer to the Centre and does not give effect to the Central government’s decision within the specified time, “the officer shall stand relieved from cadre from the date as may be specified by the Central government”; and secondly, in specific situations, where the services of cadre officers are required by the Central government in “public interest”, the State shall give effect to its decisions within a specified time. Presently, officers have to get a no-objection clearance from the State government.The first proposal was opposed by Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Karnataka and MP.An official of Jharkhand said the State has responded to the DoPT that“theproposed amendment will be contrary to the spirit of cooperative federalism”. Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren had written to the Prime Minister, “Centre should find out reasons for the perceptible decline in the number of officers opting to go on Central Deputation.”

Gen. Rawat, Kalyan get Padma Vibhushan

Padma Bhushan for Ghulam Nabi Azad and Buddhadeb BhattacharjeeGeneral Bipin Rawat, India’s first Chief of Defence Staff who died in an air crash recently, and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, who headed the State during Babri Masjid demolition, were selected for Padma Vibushan posthumously on the eve of Republic Day. Padma Vibhushan, part of the Padma series, is the second highest civilian award.Congress leader and former CM of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad and former West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee were awarded Padma Bhushan. Bharat Biotech’s Suchitra and Krishna Ella, Serum Institute of India’s Cyrus Poonawalla were accorded with Padma Bhushan along with Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons.Olympian Neeraj Chopra, gold medallist at 2021 Tokyo paralympics Avani Lakhera and singer Sonu Nigam were given Padma Shri. Satya Narayana Nadella, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corporation, Sundararajan Pichai, CEO, Google and Alphabet were accorded with Padma Bhushan. Punjabi singer Gurmeet Bawa was given Padma Bhushan posthumously. Ex-Union Home Secretary and Comptroller General of India (CAG) Rajiv Mehrishi was also conferred with Padma Bhushan.Guruprasad Mohapatra, former AAI chairman and DPIIT secretary, was selected for Padma Shri posthumously. Radheyshyam Khemka, President of Gita Press, known for publishing religious Hindu books, has been named for Padma Vibhushan posthumously.This year the President has approved the conferment of 128 Padma Awards comprising four Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shri Awards.As many as 34 awardees are women and the list also includes 10 persons from the category of Foreigners/Non Resident Indians and Overseas Citizens of India.

For a civic solidarity

The Chakma/Hajong people deserve citizenship and not racial profilingThe NHRC has done the right thing in directing the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Arunachal Pradesh government to submit an action taken report against the racial profiling and relocation of the Chakma and Hajong communities in the northeastern State. They had fled their homes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in erstwhile East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh) after losing land to the construction of the Kaptai dam on the Karnaphuli river in the early 1960s. They had sought asylum in India and were settled in relief camps in Arunachal Pradesh. Since then they have been well integrated in villages in the southern and south-eastern parts of the State. In 2015, the Supreme Court directed the State to grant them citizenship, but this had not yet been implemented. In a judgment in 1996, the Court had stated that the “life and personal liberty of every Chakma residing within the State shall be protected”. In light of these orders and given that most of the Chakma/Hajong community members were born in the State and have been living peacefully, the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister’s announcement, in August 2021, that they would be relocated outside the State and that steps would be taken for a “census” of the communities was clearly unwarranted. The so-called State-driven census would have amounted to a racial profiling of the two communities that have also been the subject of an antagonist and nativist campaign by organisations such as the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union. The issue has not been helped either by statements made earlier by the Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, about relocation.

It is difficult, but not impossible, for any State government in the northeast to balance the interests of native tribal communities and those of legitimately settled refugees and their progeny. Special rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution in these States in order to protect the tribal people, their habitat and their livelihoods, have more than occasionally been misinterpreted as favouring tribal nativism with overblown demographic fears fanning hatred for communities such as the Chakma/Hajong in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. Unfortunately, political forces have also limited themselves to using ethnic fissures for power and sustenance. Uprooting communities that fled their homelands under duress and have since been well settled in their adopted areas, contributing to the diversity of culture and the economy, would be a violation of their rights and repeating a historic wrong. A dialogue between the State government, civil society and those of the Chakma/Hajong communities would go a long way in addressing concerns in implementing the Court judgment of 2015, rather than the course currently adopted by Itanagar. Implementing the NHRC directive should be a step in the process to reverse that course.

Why Republic Day is celebrated

India is a republic only when its laws result from free public discussion and pass open scrutinyThe Preamble to the Constitution declares that India is a ‘Republic’. This self-description must be taken seriously: being a republic is integral to India’s political identity. Moreover, this is not just a descriptive but also a strong, ethical, normative claim. Being republican is an ideal to which we are meant to consistently aspire, and when we go astray, we should know that we have done something wrong, feel remorse, and make amends. If our political identity loses its republican character, we must quickly act to restore it. It is because we cherish being a republic that on every January 26 since 1950, we celebrate this founding moment. The parade and the ritual surrounding it are meaningless unless we get the spirit behind the event.

Against monarchy

What is meant by a republic and what is its significance? For a start, the primary collective intent behind a republic is anti-monarchical. The Greeks defined monarchy as the ‘rule of one (mono)’, a form of government where one person rules and all others obey; one is sovereign, all others his subjects. We usually associate it with the hereditary rule of Maharajas and Maharanis but in the Greek definition of the term, it also covers rule by modern dictators (autocracy). But what is wrong with the rule of one person? Why fear rule by one person? Perhaps the most pernicious quality about monarchy is that it subjects people to the whim and fancy of one person, to his arbitrary will. One day he likes us and gives us, say a land grant. The next day, he withdraws the grant and puts us in jail. All powers are vested in him. God-like, he becomes judge and jury, makes and executes laws, decides when they are violated, and rewards and punishes as he pleases. All these decisions affecting us are taken without discussion, mysteriously, privately, and expressed as revealed truth. The entire decision-making process remains close to his chest. Hidden from everyone, it brooks neither transparency nor accountability. It is this tyrannical potential of the rule of one person, the absolute and arbitrary use of power that we dread.

Government by discussion

What alternative does a republic offer? The English word ‘republic’ is derived from the Latin ‘Res publica’ — the public thing. This translates in the political domain into decision-making in the open, in full view of all. A republic then is associated with what we today call the ‘public sphere’, an open space where people put forward claims about what is good for the community, what is in collective interest. After discussing, debating and deliberating upon them, they reach decisions about which laws to have and what course of action to take. A republic is ‘government by free and open discussion’.

The contrast between monarchical and republican forms of government could not be sharper. Monarchy entails surrender to the arbitrary power of another person, allowing whimsical intrusion in our choices, living at the mercy of the master. It breeds slavery.

Those who live for long periods under subjection of others tend to develop slavishness, a mental torpor difficult to dispel. Silenced, they lose a vibrant sense of their own agency, are rendered without the capacity to think for themselves or take decisions about their own lives. For this reason, Gandhi used the idea of Swaraj to challenge not only political colonisation by the British, but the colonisation of our minds. It is because rule by one makes people unfree and enslaves them that the republic, its alternative, is strongly associated with freedom. To have a republic is to have a free people. This is why Gandhi’s swaraj is an important republican idea. And also why the republican tradition emphasises the importance of citizenship. After all, to be a citizen is to belong to a political community where one can express oneself and act freely. Citizens alone have political liberty. Without it, we are mere subjects.For republic-lovers, political liberty means not unbridled freedom to do whatever one pleases (negative liberty), but to live by laws made by citizens themselves, that are a product of their own will, not the arbitrary will of others. This explains why republics have a constitution generated by a deliberative body of citizens which provides the basic law of the land, the fundamental framework of governance. The phrase “We, the People” in the Constitution is not a mere literary embellishment but central to a republican constitution. The willingnessto live by self-made regulations but enforced by public power or the state also means that those who value a republic are not against states per se but against those that take away our political freedom.‘Republic’ and ‘democratic’It appears from what is said above that the word ‘republic’ covers all that is meant by the term ‘democratic’. Our own Constituent Assembly initially took the view that since the word ‘republic’ contains the word ‘democratic’, it may be unnecessary to use both. This would have been in keeping with the French republican tradition where the two terms are used interchangeably. Yet, after announcing its commitment to sever its links with an external, imperial monarch, and with all existing and future claims of local rajas and make India a republic, B.R. Ambedkar and Jawaharlal Nehru conceded that since an undemocratic republic is conceivable, a separate commitment to democratic institutions is necessary.This decision was correct. It was wise to keep both terms in the Preamble. The idea of the republic conveys that decisions shall be made not by a single individual but by citizens after due deliberation in an open forum. But this is consistent with a narrow criterion of who counts as a citizen. Ancient Roman republics were not inclusive. Ancient India probably had aristocratic clan-republics which were far from democratic. In ancient Greece, slaves, women, and foreigners were not considered citizens and excluded from decision-making.Indeed, for many Greek thinkers, democracy had a negative connotation precisely because it was believed to involve everyone, including plebeians, what we contemptuously call ‘the mob’. What the term ‘democratic’ brings to our Constitution is that citizenship be available to everyone, regardless of their wealth, education, gender, perceived social ranking, religion, race, or ideological beliefs. The word ‘democracy’ makes the republic inclusive. No one is excluded from citizenship. For example, all have the right to vote. At the same time, if voting, for practical reasons, is restricted only to choosing representatives who, in the name of the people, make laws and policies, then citizens must at least have the right to be properly informed, seek transparency and accountability from their government.A republic must, at the very least, have perpetually vigilant citizens who act as watchdogs, monitor their representatives, and retain the right to contest any law or policy made on their behalf. By going beyond mere counting of heads, the term ‘republic’ brings free public discussion to our democratic constitution. It gives depth to our democracy. It is mandatory that decisions taken by the representatives of the people be properly deliberated, remain open to scrutiny, and be publicly, legally contested even after they have been made.When the farmers came out on the streets to peacefully challenge the three farm laws made by the current government, they exercised not only their democratic rights but also exhibited the highest of republican virtues. It is to celebrate such political acts of citizens that we have the Republic Day.

Towards low emissions growth

For climate and development’s sake, India needs to bring back industrial policy, only differently this timeClimate change is one of the defining challenges of this century. Without a global effort to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, average global temperatures are likely to exceed 2°C even with current policies in place. While many developing countries made net-zero pledges at COP26, they face enormous challenges in their attempts to grow in a climate-constrained world. In India, there is high youth unemployment and hunger for substantial investments in hard infrastructure to industrialise and urbanise. Unlike the energy-intensive growth trajectories of the industrialised world, India’s economic growth in the last three decades, led by growth in the services sector, has come at a significantly lower emissions footprint. But in the coming decades, India will have to move to an investment-led and manufacturing-intensive growth model. Can India do this with a low emissions footprint?

A green industrialisation strategy

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that India will strive to reach net-zero emissions by 2070 is commendable, it is essential to follow through with short-, medium- and long-term guiding strategies to ensure that India can maximize developmental gains in this transition. What India needs is a green industrialisation strategy that combines laws, policy instruments, and implementing institutions to steer its decentralised economic activities to become climate-friendly and resilient. A market-steering approach rather than a hands-off approach would encourage private sector investments in technologies needed to industrialise under climate constraints. While India has provided high level of policy support to deploy renewable energy, its industrial policy efforts to increase the domestic manufacturing of renewable energy technology components have been affected by policy incoherence, poor management of economic rents, and contradictory policy objectives. Academic research provides evidence that policies to develop local innovation capabilities alongside linking with global production networks create the most job opportunities. China’s techno-industrial policy strategy to strategically align RD&D, manufacturing, and deployment of solar and wind technologies paid off not only in its global competitiveness to produce clean energy technologies but also in creating more domestic job opportunities than India’s approach to prioritising only deployment. China has created more jobs in manufacturing solar and wind components for exports than domestic deployment. India could have retained some of those jobs if it were strategic in promoting these technologies. Besides China, Korea’s green growth strategy and the U.S.’s Endless Frontier Act, passed in the Senate in 2021 to make significant RD&D investments in emerging future technologies, are examples of techno-industrial policy strategies. 

Recent decarbonisation modeling studies point to a significant role for battery, green hydrogen, carbon capture and storage technologies to decarbonise India’s transport and industry sectors. While India may have lost the bus in terms of catching up on solar PV innovations, technologies needed to decarbonise the transport and industry sectors provide a significant opportunity. However, India’s R&D investments in these emerging green technologies are non-existent. The production-linked incentives (PLIs) under ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ are a step in the right direction for localising clean energy manufacturing activities. Nevertheless, they still do not address Aatmanirbhar’s economic goal to move from incremental changes to quantum jumps in economic activities. Aligning existing RD&D investments with the technologies needed for green industrialisation is crucial for realising quantum jumps. Besides, India also needs to nurture private entrepreneurship and experimentation in clean energy technologies. An industrial policy approach is necessary for gaining development co-benefits from the structural transition that climate change demands.

The way forward

India’s energy transition should be development-focused and aim to extract economic and employment rents from decarbonisation. The government should neither succumb to international pressure to decarbonise soon nor should it postpone its investment in decarbonisation technologies. Instead, India should set its pace based on its ability to capitalise on the opportunities to create wealth through green industrialisation. India should follow a path where it can negotiate carbon space to grow, buying time for the hard-to-abate sectors; push against counterproductive WTO trade litigations on decarbonisation technologies; all while making R&D investments in those technologies.Easwaran J. Narassimhan is a Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and The Fletcher School at Tufts University

A festival to salute India’s vibrant democracy

The Republic Day this year is a time when citizens of India must rededicate themselves to fulfilling their dutiesRepublic Day is not only an occasion to take pride in our identity as Indians but also an occasion for the citizens of our country to reiterate our resolve to promote equality and brotherhood in the country.This year we are celebrating our 73rd Republic Day. This journey of our Republic had started on January 26, 1950 when we had resolved to abide by and remain faithful to the principles enshrined in our Constitution. On the day our Constitution came into force, India became a fully sovereign democratic republic. The Constitution has been our guiding force in the journey of the nation as a mature democracy among comity of nations.

Much thought and work

The task of drafting the Constitution of India was assigned to a seven-member committee under the chairmanship of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The Constituent Assembly undertook intensive deliberations over a period of two years, 11 months and 18 days spread over 11 sessions, during which the Constitution of India took shape which was then adopted on November 26, 1949. January 26, 1950 was the momentous day when, at last, decades of struggle for true Swaraj finally bore fruit and the supremacy of the sovereign will of the people was truly established.Our Constituent Assembly played a dual role after Independence, given the insurmountable task of nation-building. On the one hand, there was the task of framing an enlightened Constitution for an independent India and on the other, to play the role of a legislature for the nascent nation. The Constituent Assembly of India acted as the first Parliament of independent India. It is an interesting historical fact that Dr. Rajendra Prasad chaired the sittings of the House when it met as the Constituent Assembly while Ganesh Mavalankar presided over as Speaker when the House met as the legislature.Our Constituent Assembly had performed the functions of the provisional Parliament of India in the interval between the time our Constitution was enforced and the day when the new Parliament was formed following the first General Elections (October 25, 1951-February 21, 1952).May 13, 1952 was the historic date when the first sitting of the newly elected First Lok Sabha, representing the hopes and aspirations of the 36 crore citizens of India, was held.

A beacon

Since then, in the seven and a half decades of this glorious journey, our Constitution has not only upheld the hopes and aspirations of the 135 crore population but has also acted as an unwavering beacon of light, guiding us on the path of building a great and resilient country.

Representative institutions and democratic traditions have always been an integral part of our rich heritage. This is why when India adopted the modern form of a democratic structure of governance after Independence, it was a seamless transition which was much lauded the world over. Today, when we celebrate ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to mark the 75th anniversary of our independence, it is high time for us to evaluate the gains made so far and strive for a futuristic action plan of building a new India. We have to ensure that our institutions and governance ensure inclusivity and the participation of our population in our developmental journey, particularly our women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and all other marginalised sections become equal partners in our growth story.

Our Parliament has been playing a pivotal role in the all-round development of the nation by adopting many parliamentary devices for ensuring free and fair discussions and dialogue. These devices have enabled the Members to raise the concerns of the people in the House and to draw the attention of the Government towards their satisfactory resolution, and also ensure transparency and accountability of the executive.

Help for legislators, MPs

To ensure that best legislative practices are shared, a national portal is being planned to serve as a repository of the proceedings of Parliament and all State/Union Territory legislatures in the country. At the same time, measures are being taken to provide support for capacity building of the Members of Parliament. Research support is being provided to Members to help them participate better and meaningfully in matters brought before Parliament. A dedicated parliamentary research team is being set up for the purpose. Efforts are on to reform and strengthen the parliamentary committee system to make it more effective.Our goal is to make our legislatures a forum where meaningful, positive and result-oriented discussions are held; a legislature where all sides are able to put forth their opinions; a legislature where we are able to arrive at a resolution through constructive dialogue while respecting divergent views. It is also time in the journey of our nation to take stock and review laws that were enacted during the pre-Independence era so as to make them more relevant to our current requirements and future challenges. For this, all political parties will have to enter into a constructive and healthy understanding through mutual dialogue.Republic Day is an occasion for people’s representatives and all citizens of this proud nation to reaffirm faith in the ideals enshrined in our Constitution. Baba Saheb Ambedkar, in his speech before the Constituent Assembly on November 4, 1948, had underlined that the basis of constitutional morality is to hold the values enshrined in the Constitution as paramount.Republic Day is also an occasion to contemplate as citizens our responsibility in the diligent discharge of our duties just as we continue to cherish our fundamental rights.

A vision for the future

Let us celebrate this Republic Day as a festival and firmly rededicate ourselves to the fulfilment of our duties to bring happiness, prosperity and a better quality of life for all our citizens in keeping with the vision of the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi — of creating an ideal democracy with morality at its core, discipline in the hearts of its citizen, and where everybody fulfilled their duties and the rights of all were protected. It is that vision which guides our Constitution, and it is the same vision that should be our guide for the future.With this belief, I wish all my fellow countrymen a very happy Republic Day.

Om Birla is Speaker, Lok Sabha

Coup in Burkina Faso

Juntas without political legitimacy have only worsened the crises in West AfricaBurkina Faso, once known as one of the most stable countries in West Africa, has been mired in a deadly cycle of jihadist violence since 2015. Monday’s coup, in which mutinous soldiers overthrew the democratically elected government of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, was a direct result of this growing instability which the government failed miserably to tackle. Mr. Kaboré was elected President in 2015 almost at the same time jihadists, belonging to al Qaeda and the Islamic State, were expanding across the Sahel region. They turned the vast countryside of this landlocked country bounded by Mali and Niger — both rocked by Islamist violence — into ungovernable territories. Over the last seven years, at least 2,000 people have been killed and over one million displaced in this country of 22 million people. The military and large sections of civilians saw the Kaboré government as ineffective, corrupt and out of touch with the ground reality. The coronavirus pandemic and the associated economic woes have also pushed the Burkinabe people further into misery. An uprising, touched off in the streets of Ouagadougou, the capital city, a few days ago, was followed by the mutiny. The soldiers moved in quickly, surrounding the presidential palace.West Africa has seen a series of successful coups in recent months. In September 2021, special forces in Guinea ousted the government and captured power. In Mali, the military staged a coup for the second time in less than a year, in May 2021. While in Chad, the President was killed in conflict in April, Sudan saw the military throwing out a power-sharing agreement it had reached with civilian revolutionaries and taking the levers of the state in its hands. The ease with which the generals captured power in all these countries should be a warning to other elected governments in the continent. While taking power, all these military leaders promised elections, but soon their focus shifted to tightening their grip on power rather than resolving the crises that they used to justify their power grab or allowing a transition to a legitimate government. The story of Burkina Faso is not different. The coup was reportedly welcomed by protesters in the streets of Ouagadougou. It is understandable because the people, fed up with the jihadist violence and the state’s inability in tackling it, may have thought the men in uniform could at least provide them better security. But this support could be short-lived as the power-hungry junta faces a terrorist machinery spread across the Sahel along with the post-coup political divisions and instability at home. Coups are hardly a solution to the many crises these countries face. Rather, the juntas, which lack political legitimacy, end up making them worse.

Six Army men honoured with Shaurya Chakra for gallantry

Olympics gold medallist Neeraj Chopra awarded Param Vishisht Seva MedalOlympics gold medallist Subedar Neeraj Chopra was named for the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) on the eve of Republic Day, while six Army personnel, five of them posthumously, have been selected for the Shaurya Chakra, the third highest peacetime gallantry award, by the President and Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces, Ram Nath Kovind.

A Defence Ministry statement said: “The President has approved awards of 384 Gallantry and other defence decorations to armed forces personnel and others on the eve of 73rd Republic Day celebrations.”These include 12 Shaurya Chakras, 29 PVSMs, four Uttam Yudh Seva Medals, 53 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, 13 Yudh Seva Medals, 125 Vishisht Seva Medals, 84 Sena Medals (Gallantry), two Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry), 40 Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty), eight Nao Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty), and 14 Vayu Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty).Subedar Neeraj Chopra won the Olympic gold in javelin at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. He enrolled in the 4th battalion of the Rajputana Rifles as a direct entry Naib Subedar on May 15, 2016.Awarded for distinguished service of exceptional order, the PVSM is mostly awarded to officers of the Lieutenant General rank and equivalent, and rarely to officers of lower ranks, and even less so to Junior Commissioned Officers.The five personnel conferred Shaurya Chakra posthumously are Naib Subedar M. Sreejith and Sepoy Maruprolu Jaswanth Kumar Reddy from the 17 Madras Regiment; Havildar Anil Kumar Tomar from the Rajput Regiment; Havildar Kashiray Bammanalli from the Corps of Engineers and with the 44 Rashtriya Rifles (RR); and Havildar Pinku Kumar from the Jat Regiment and with the 34 RR.The sixth Shaurya Chakra awardee is Rifleman Rakesh Sharma, 5 Assam Rifles.All the six personnel have been awarded the Shaurya Chakra for their role in counter-insurgency operations, of which all five personnel awarded posthumously were for operations in Jammu and Kashmir and along the Line of Control (LoC).The sixth Shaurya Chakra awardee, Rifleman Sharma, was part of an ambush that took place after receiving information on the movement of insurgents for extortion and killing of civilians in a village in Assam in May 2021.In addition, the President has awarded one President’s Tatrakshak Medal (PTM), three Tatrakshak Medals (TM) and one TM for meritorious service to Coast Guard personnel.




The News Editorial Analysis 25th Jan 2022

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