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Army launches software to digitise data on soldiers

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New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday launched a software to digitise records of over 12 lakh soldiers of the Indian Army.

The software, ARPAN 3.0, was launched as part of the ‘Digital India Week’.

Files and documents from seven records offices of the army have already been digitised, covering around 32 percent of the total soldiers.

Launching the website, Parrikar said the work of digitising all records will be done in a year.

“In one year, we will have a perfect website,” Parrikar said.

In another year, records of all 45 record offices of the army, covering more than 12 lakh soldiers, will be digitised, he added.

Accessible on the intranet connecting army stations, a website will allow soldiers access to their account information through a website through a login name and password.

It will have personal details, including documentation, unit administration, salary, leave, transfer and postings, besides various reports and returns. The details can also be sent from one unit to other, if needed.

Officials said kiosks will also be set at different stations to allow soldiers to check their uploaded information.

It will also help in calculating pensions once the soldier retires.

Army Chief General Dalbir Singh, meanwhile, said it will “enhance efficiency”.

“Units and individuals will be able to access records….It will also enhance the efficiency of the record office,” he said.

An army official said the software has been developed jointly by the Army Software Development Centre (ASDC) and Tech Mahindra, at a cost of Rs.1.9 crore.

It is an advanced version of previous software ARPAN 2.0.

An official involved in the development of the software said the transfer of records from ARPAN 2.0 format to the new version was a time-consuming process.

While this initiative focuses on digitising records of the Joint Commissioned Officers and jawans, the records of around 45,000 officers have already been digitised, he said.

(IANS)

 

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Return to Jammu- A Novel About a Journey

The author has superbly captured the life of the kid in a cantonment, growing up with two sisters, his mother's struggle to run the house on a tight budget and his father, a happy-go-lucky man, who avoids the responsibilities of a good husband.

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He describes vividly how the family shifts to Jammu on his father's transfer, giving even the minutest details of their belongings, and of their journey to Jammu via Pathankot.
Sanasar, Jammu and Kasmir- wikimedia commons

This is the engrossing tale of Balan, a kid from South India who grows up in the towns of Punjab, Jammu and Haryana. It captures the eventful journey of Balan’s childhood, his schooling, and the friends he makes and loses due to transfers of his father, serving in the Indian Army.

“Return to Jammu” is a first-person narration and with the timelines, places and real-life personalities and events, the reader gets a feeling that it is an autobiographical novel. The author clarifies that all characters and the story per se are fictional but confesses to borrowing liberally from many episodes of his childhood in telling the story.

“If you happen to be acquainted with me enough to perceive a passing resemblance of me in Balan, you would be right; and yet if you find the resemblance rather tenuous and liberally adulterated, you will be equally right too,” says the author in a preliminary note.

Settled in Jammu, Balan is admitted into grade two, though just four years and seven months old. He remains younger and tinier than his peer group all through his schooling and even in college.
V. Raghunathan-Author of the book Return to Jammu, wikimedia commons

Balan, son of a junior commissioned officer hailing from Kerala and having Tamilian roots, is born in the Ambala cantonment in 1954. He narrates his story even before his birth, relying on family tellings.

The author has superbly captured the life of the kid in a cantonment, growing up with two sisters, his mother’s struggle to run the house on a tight budget and his father, a happy-go-lucky man, who avoids the responsibilities of a good husband.

He describes vividly how the family shifts to Jammu on his father’s transfer, giving even the minutest details of their belongings, and of their journey to Jammu via Pathankot.

Settled in Jammu, Balan is admitted into grade two, though just four years and seven months old. He remains younger and tinier than his peer group all through his schooling and even in college. Because of his diminutive size, he is saddled with sobriquets like pocket edition, Lilliputian and Madrasi, and sees his self-esteem falling dangerously.

He describes vividly how the family shifts to Jammu on his father's transfer, giving even the minutest details of their belongings, and of their journey to Jammu via Pathankot.
Jammu and Kashmir Map, wikimedia commons

It’s at Satwari near Jammu that he develops childhood friendship with many, most importantly with Jeevan Asha or Jeesha, who was two years older and also taller than him. Soon, however, Balan’s father is again transferred to Ambala and he is separated from his friends, especially Jeesha. He writes letters to his friends and receives responses from all, except Jeesha.

Overcoming all odds and with hard work, Balan completes his studies and joins the State Bank of India. Now a confident young man, he works hard and finally makes it to the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad. (It was at IIM, Ahmedabad, that the author taught finance.)

Also Read: 70 years after Independence power reaches Elephanta Isle near Mumbai 

There he comes across a girl called Jasmine Pundith. He believes she is his good old buddy Jeesha. Bu she shows no sign of recognition and when he tries to remind her about their childhood friendship, Jasmine tells him that she is a citizen of the US and has no link with Jammu.

Convinced that she is none other than Jeesha, Balan travels to Delhi to find out more about her family. He even returns to Jammu, where he meets her brother Niranjan. What Balan comes to know from him forms the climax of the story.

The book is worth a read also for the author’s eye for detail, whether it is canal system of Jammu, the picturesque Kashmir valley, especially Uri, the pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi, or a visit by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. (IANS)