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Govt accepts Shekatkar recommendations

  • Category
    Economy
  • Published
    30th May, 2020

In a major boost to building strategic roads along India’s northern border with China, the government accepted and implemented three important recommendations relating to border infrastructure, made by the Shekatkar Committee in 2016.

Context

In a major boost to building strategic roads along India’s northern border with China, the government accepted and implemented three important recommendations relating to border infrastructure, made by the Shekatkar Committee in 2016.

About

  • The Shekatkar Committee was set up by former defence minister Manohar Parrikar, and submitted its report in December 2016.
  • The Committee submitted a total of 99 recommendations.
  • The report, which is now the guiding principle for ongoing defence reforms, has never been made public, because it covers operational aspects of the armed forces, and its disclosure is not in the interests of national security.

Accepted Recommendations:

  • First recommendation: First, the government has implemented the Shekatkar Committee recommendation “to outsource road construction work beyond optimal capacity of Border Roads Organisation (BRO).”
    • The recommendations accepted were aimed at speeding up road construction in remote areas, providing easier access to the military and leading to socio economic development in the border areas.
    • This is aimed at bringing in private sector road construction agencies and taking the load off a heavily overstretched BRO, which is struggling to maintain the existing network of borders roads and highways; while also building new roads to areas that have remained outside the road network since independence.
  • Second recommendation: Second, the government has accepted a Shekatkar Committee recommendation that makes it easier to introduce modern construction plant, equipment and machinery. For this, the BRO’s “enhanced procurement powers” for domestic and foreign procurements from have been increased from Rs 7.5 crore to Rs 100 crore.
  • Third recommendation: Finally, completing land acquisition and obtaining statutory clearances such as forest and environmental clearance will now be pre-requisites for approving the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for a new road. Work can be awarded only after at least 90 per cent of the statutory clearances have been obtained.

    Border Roads Organization (BRO):

    • Border Roads Organisation, popularly known as BRO, is a civil engineering institution responsible to provide civil (construction) engineering cover to the Armed Forces of India, during war and peace.
    • Founded in 1960, the organisation is manned partly by civil engineers drawn from Corps of Engineers of the Army, but mainly by those recruited exclusively for BRO.
    • The latter complement of manpower is called General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF).
    • The organisation is under Ministry of Defence for specific deployment but placed under Ministry of Highways for general administration.
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