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We will ensure that there are no loopholes in the coastal security system: Rajnath

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Panaji: The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government wants to ensure a foolproof coastal security system for the country, union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said here on Monday.

STATEN ISLAND, New York (Aug. 14, 2003)--Seaman Operations Specialist Jason Dailey, sector operator at the Vessel Traffic Center at Coast Guard Activities New York, Staten Island, N.Y. monitors  vessel traffic in the New York Harbor before the blackout darkened the northeast Aug. 14, 2003.  Unlike the many city traffic signals that went out, the VTC had back-up generators and battery power that helped harbor traffic continue to flow freely through the duration of the blackout.  USCG photo PA2 Mike Hvozda

The minister said that senior members of parliament, who are on the parliamentary consultative committee attached to the home ministry, had given suggestions on the issue and his ministry will give these serious thought and take a call on the same.

Rajnath Singh was talking to reporters here after chairing a meeting of the parliamentary consultative committee attached to the union home ministry to discuss coastal security.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijuju was also present on the occasion.

“Today (Monday), we had a meeting of the parliamentary committee on coastal-related issues. Our government wants a foolproof coastal security system,” the home minister said.

“Our senior members of parliament gave suggestions and our home ministry will take a call on them after giving it a serious thought,” Rajnath Singh added.

He pointed out that to strengthen the coastal security, one must first consider the country’s coastline as “vulnerable and then work towards plugging the gaps”.

“We should consider that all of our coastline is vulnerable. It is not, but we should consider it that way,” Rajnath Singh said.

“We have ensured coastal security to a large extent, but we want to ensure no loopholes anywhere. Whatever loopholes are there, we will decide on plugging them,” he added.

The Indian mainland has a coastline of approximately 5,700 km. If one considers the coastline of island territories, the Indian coastline adds up to around 7,500 km.

The committee also discussed issues related to maritime security, including the security apparatus on the coast, offshore and high seas.

Rajnath Singh also said that the national committee on strengthening maritime and coastal security will review timely implementation of various proposals and key issues/ matters pertaining to maritime and coastal security.

He also underscored the need for effective coordination among central ministries and agencies and state governments and union territories having a coastline.

Apart from the two central ministers, the meeting was also attended by Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, union home secretary L.C. Goyal and other senior officials of the MHA and Indian Coast Guard.

(IANS)

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World’s Anti-Corruption Day

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges "to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide."

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Anti-Corruption
Bulgarian anti-corruption protesters march during a demonstration in downtown Sofia, VOA

Corruption costs the world economy $2.6 trillion each year, according to the United Nations, which is marking International Anti-Corruption Day on Sunday.

“Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region or community is immune,” the United Nations said.

The cost of $2.6 trillion represents more than 5 percent of global GDP.

The world body said that $1 trillion of the money stolen annually through corruption is in the form of bribes.

Patricia Moreira, the managing director of Transparency International, told VOA that about a quarter of the world’s population has paid a bribe when trying to access a public service over the past year, according to data from the Global Corruption Barometer.

Moreira said it is important to have such a day as International Anti-Corruption Day because it provides “a really tremendous opportunity to focus attention precisely on the challenge that is posed by corruption around the world.”

Journalist, Anti-Corruption
An activist places candles and flowers on the Great Siege monument, after rebuilding a makeshift memorial to assassinated anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, in Valletta, Malta. VOA

Anti-corruption commitments

To mark the day, the United States called on all countries to implement their international anti-corruption commitments including through the U.N. Convention against Corruption.

In a statement Friday, the U.S. State Department said that corruption facilitates crime and terrorism, as well as undermines economic growth, the rule of law and democracy.

“Ultimately, it endangers our national security. That is why, as we look ahead to International Anticorruption Day on Dec. 9, we pledge to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide,” the statement said.

Moreira said that data about worldwide corruption can make the phenomena understandable but still not necessarily “close to our lives.” For that, we need to hear everyday stories about people impacted by corruption and understand that it “is about our daily lives,” she added.

She said those most impacted by corruption are “the most vulnerable people — so it’s usually women, it’s usually poor people, the most marginalized people in the world.”

Anti-Corruption
Anna Hazare raised his voice against corruption and went ahead with his hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Wikimedia Commons

The United Nations Development Program notes that in developing countries, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.

What can be done to fight corruption?

The United Nations designated Dec. 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day in 2003, coinciding with the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption by the U.N. General Assembly.

The purpose of the day is to raise awareness about corruption and put pressure on governments to take action against it.

Tackling the issue

Moreira said to fight corruption effectively it must be tackled from different angles. For example, she said that while it is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption, governments must also have mechanisms to enforce that legislation. She said those who engage in corruption must be held accountable.

“Fighting corruption is about providing people with a more sustainable world, with a world where social justice is something more of our reality than what it has been until today,” she said.

Anti-Corruption
It is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption

Moreira said change must come from a joint effort from governments, public institutions, the private sector and civil society.

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges “to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide.”

It noted that the United States, through the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, helps partner nations “build transparent, accountable institutions and strengthen criminal justice systems that hold the corrupt accountable.”

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Moreira said that it is important for the world to see that there are results to the fight against corruption.

“Then we are showing the world with specific examples that we can fight against corruption, [that] yes there are results. And if we work together, then it is something not just that we would wish for, but actually something that can be translated into specific results and changes to the world,” she said. (VOA)