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Parliament clears Inter-Services Organisations Bill

Discussion on the Bill continued in the absence of the opposition members who walked out in protest demanding a discussion on the Manipur issue.
Last Updated : 08 August 2023, 16:01 IST
Last Updated : 08 August 2023, 16:01 IST

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Parliament on Tuesday passed a Bill that seeks to provide the commander-in-chief and officer-in-command of inter-services organisations disciplinary and administrative powers over personnel from other forces serving in such establishments.

The Bill was cleared in Rajya Sabha with a voice vote. Lok Sabha had given its nod to the legislation on August 4.

Speaking in the Upper House, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said India is fully prepared to face any type of warfare and the country's defence spending can be increased to 5-6 per cent of GDP if needed.

In his reply to a discussion on The Interservices Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023, Singh said the legislation has been brought to keep in tune with the changing nature of modern warfare and ensure better coordination among the three services.

"It (warfare) is not conventional now, it has become technology and network-centric... It is therefore important considering the new challenges, which we and our forces are facing, there is a need for better coordination. This bill has been brought for that purpose only," the defence minister said.

Singh further said, "After the passage of this Bill, our inter-services organisations will be able to work in a better way." Replying to a query, he said the country's maritime interests are fully protected and there is no reason for worry.

"Also, we are fully prepared for any type of warfare," he said. This preparedness will continue going forward, Singh asserted.

On low defence spending and vacancies in the armed forces, he reiterated all efforts have been made to ensure there are no shortcomings in any form in protecting the country.

He said financial resources will not be allowed to be a constraint and, if need be, the defence budget can be increased to even 5-6 per cent of GDP.

In response to a query on the theatrisation, the defence minister said it is a different subject and speaking about it now would be premature.

"However, I want to assure that if theatrisation happens, this Act, through a normal notification, would be effective on the theatre command as well," he said.

The defence minister said considering the current global circumstances, there is a need to keep India's forces strong.

"This Bill has been brought with a view to strengthen our forces. There should be better jointness and at the same time integration should be better so that our forces can move faster to achieve the desired results," he said.

The legislation has been brought for the purpose of ensuring better coordination and integrated infrastructure between the three services arms and to further strengthen the tradition of discipline inherent in the armed forces.

"It is this discipline that not only instils self-confidence within our armed forces but also strengthens the sense of unity within them as a unit or establishment. Therefore, if there is any case of indiscipline, it should be resolved immediately and it is also necessary to have a quick solution," Singh noted.

Discussion on the Bill continued in the absence of the opposition members who walked out in protest demanding a discussion on the Manipur issue.

Various members including Kamakhya Prasad Tasa (BJP), Sujeet Kumar (BJD), Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar (TDP), M Thambidurai (AIADMK), V Vijayasai Reddy (YSRCP), Lt Gen. D P Vats (BJP), GK Vasan TMC (M), Ashok Bajpai (BJP) took part in the discussion.

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Published 08 August 2023, 16:01 IST

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