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  • The current call rate for most of such connections was Rs 5 per minute, although some subsidised ones paid Re 1. "On the eve of Diwali, we are announcing that Armed forces and para-military forces stationed in remote areas and tough terrains on borders will be able to make satellite phone calls at the rate of Re 1 per minute, instead of Rs 5 applicable on it. This will enable them to talk their family for longer duration," Sinha said. The minister also announced that no rental will be charged from security forces from Thursday. "At present, Rs 500 monthly rent is charged for satellite phone connections from security forces. From tomorrow onwards, they will not need to pay any rental," Sinha said. The call charge was Re 1 in 2009-10 to begin with, to be revised every 5 years. "We have decided that charges will be Re 1 only per call and not increased to Rs 5," Sinha said. Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the cost will have an impact of Rs 3-4 crore per annum which will be borne by the government. At present there are 2,500 satellite phone connections operational in the country. "We have capacity of 5,000 connections. We are informing the defence and the home ministries that more connections can be given. The total capacity can be further increased, if required, in six months," Sinha said. The soldiers and officers are working day and night without bothering about difficult weather conditions and as they are posted away from their homes and headquarters, there is a constant requirement for them to speak to their family and also to their Headquarters. With this special Diwali Gift from Government of India, Defence personnel can now talk without worrying for more expenses to their home and their Headquarter. The Minister also wished the jawans and officers and their family members a very Happy Diwali.
  • In a communication to all states, the ministry also asked all state governments to set up a committee for examining requirements of central armed police forces (CAPF) by keeping in view the internal security, intelligence inputs and availability of central forces in nearby locations. It said the central government has formulated standard operating procedures (SOPs) for deployment of CAPFs and according to it, the central forces would be able to meet more pressing commitments like guarding borders, fighting insurgency, anti-national operations and in related situations which need immediate mobilisation of forces. "CAPFs can't substitute the state police force as their deployment is related to emergency crisis in states for maintaining law and order," the communication said. The ministry, in the communication, said the state governments often make requests to the Centre for deployment of CAPFs even for occasions where state should normally be in a position to take all security measures from their own resources by dispatching police and state armed police. "State governments are reluctant to de-induct CAPFs and keep requesting for extension which should not ordinarily be made unless there are adequate security reasons for their extension. "Deployment of CAPF companies has a cost associated with it and the state governments are required to pay the charges as laid down in the government policy. Incidentally, there are significant outstanding amount against the states and Union territories," it said. Asking the state governments to follow the SOPs, the ministry said each state should constitute a state-level committee under the chairmanship of Additional Director General of Police (law and order), where representatives of Intelligence Bureau and CAPFs at the level of DIG may be co- opted. "These committees may examine and scrutinise the requirements of CAPFs by keeping in view the internal security, previous scale of deployment, optimal utilisation of state resources, intelligence inputs and availability of CAPFs in nearby locations," it said. The recommendation of the committee must be specific and indicate the quantum of CAPFs deployment and duration along with the jurisdictions. Requests for extension of deployment and increase in the quantum must also be examined by the committee on similar lines. "Government has sanctioned many India Reserve Battalions in the states and these are not being used optimally by the state governments. “The purpose of the IRBs scheme is to make the state self-sufficient in dealing with the law and order and internal security situation by avoiding being dependent on CAPFs," the home ministry communication said.
  • Xi, the General Secretary of the CPC, also vowed make the People's Liberation Army a world class military during his over a three-and-a half hour speech at the once-in-a-five-year Congress which is set to confirm his second term and elect new leaders to work with him. The 64-year-old spoke mostly of rebuilding of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) keeping its socialist structure intact. The week-long meeting will also amend the party's Constitution. About the neighbours, Xi said China would "deepen relations its neighbours in accordance with the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness and the policy of forging friendship and partnership". "We should commit to settling disputes through dialogue and resolving differences through discussion, coordinate responses to traditional and non-traditional threats and oppose terrorism in all its forms," Xi said. China and India had been engaged in a standoff recently in the Dokalam area in Sikkim. China was engaged in a number of maritime disputes with the neighbours in the South and East China seas. Xi spoke at length about his plans to make the 2.3 million strong PLA, the world’s largest military, into a world class force. The Chinese military, which underwent massive reform drive since Xi took over power in 2012, has over USD 141 billion annual budget next only to US military. "A military is built to fight. Our military must regard combat capability as the criterion to meet in all its work and focus on how to win when it is called on," he said, adding that all steps would be taken to ensure military preparedness to implement strategic doctrines. In his speech Xi also pledged to make a sweeping victory in its fight against corruption to escape the historical cycle of rise and fall. Calling corruption "the greatest threat" the Party faces, Xi said the situation in the fight against corruption remains "grave and complex." The CPC will prevent any interest groups from arising within the Party, Xi said. Founded in 1921, the CPC has about 89-million members with more than 4.5 million grassroots organisations. Over 2,200 delegates of the Communist Party of China are in Beijing to attend the 19th National Congress of the Party which started on October 18.