In a major step towards the integration of the defence services, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) Tuesday gave nod to the creation of a chief of defence staff (CDS), who will be the single-point military adviser to the government.
“The government has approved the creation of a post of Chief of Defence Staff. The officer to be appointed as Chief of Defence Staff will be a four-star General and will also head the Department of Military Affairs,” Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said at a media briefing.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced on August 15 from the ramparts of the Red Fort that India would have a chief of defence staff (CDS). Outgoing Army Chief, Gen Bipin Rawat, is considered one of the front runners to become the first Chief of Defence Staff.
The CCS also approved the report of a high-level committee, headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, which finalised responsibilities and the enabling framework for the CDS.
Cabinet nod to NPR updation
The Union Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also approved a proposal to update the National Population Register (NPR), restructuring of the Railway Board and an ordinance to further amend Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
“Cabinet has approved the conducting of the Census of India 2021 and updating of National Population Register. It is self-declaration, no document, bio-metric etc required for it,” Javadekar said.
The NPR exercise will require people to declare ‘date and place of birth of parents’ besides furnishing data on 21 points. The NPR exercise is to commence from April next year.
Cabinet approves restructuring of Railway Board
Apart from this, the Cabinet also approved the restructuring of the Railway Board by downsizing its strength from eight to five, including the chairperson, and merging its different cadres into a single Railway Management System, PTI reported.
Instead of Railway Board Members for Traffic, Rolling Stock, Traction and Engineering, the newly constituted Board will have Members for Operation, Business Development, Human Resources, Infrastructure and Finance, the source said.
Indian Railways will now have only one cadre — Indian Railway Service, instead of current eight services for various departments including Engineering, Traffic, Mechanical and Electrical.
Atal Bhujal Yojana for groundwater management announced
Atal Bhujal Yojana, a Rs 6,000 crore scheme for sustainable management of groundwater resources, was also approved by the Union Cabinet, Javadekar announced. “The scheme will cover 8,350 villages of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh,” he said.
The scheme entails the participation of communities in activities such as the formation of water user associations, monitoring and disseminating groundwater data, water budgeting, preparation and implementation of gram panchayat-wise water security plans and information, education and communication (IEC) activities related to sustainable groundwater management.
(With PTI inputs)
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