first_img30 May 2012 South Africa possesses sound knowledge gained from over 25 years’ experience that makes it more than competent to run a large nuclear power plant, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe told the National Nuclear Energy Conference on Tuesday. In a video message to conference, Motlanthe said South Africa had developed the complex overall systems required to competently operate and maintain a large nuclear power plant. “However, South Africa’s nuclear history goes back much further than that – it actually goes back to the mid-1940s, a period of over 60 years,” Motlanthe said. “This makes South Africa one of the oldest nuclear countries in the world. We have a long, proud history in the field of nuclear science.” Currently, state company Eskom runs the only nuclear power station in the country, Koeberg, located 30km north of Cape Town. The government has committed itself to producing an additional 9 600 Megawatts of nuclear power for the country’s electricity grid.Power plants ‘need to be spread geographically’ Most of South Africa’s coal and electricity generation is clustered in the eastern parts of the country, requiring very long high-voltage supply lines to distribute electricity across the country. Describing this scenario as “strategically unwise” in the longer term, Motlanthe said electricity needed to be produced in other parts of the country, which in turn required the use of energy sources other than coal. “Nuclear power is ideal in this sense, because we can build large nuclear power plants at points around our southern coastline, and potentially elsewhere in the future.”South Africa ‘could become nuclear exporter’ The construction of a nuclear power plant was a major task that would bring economic benefits to the local industry, which could play a major role in the construction and fabrication of nuclear power plants, Motlanthe said. “In fact, it is desirable that South African industry place itself in the position to be able to export nuclear power components internationally.” South Africa is already a world leader in the export of nuclear pharmaceuticals for medical use, exporting to some 60 countries. Nuclear analytical processes are also used constantly in industry, agriculture and elsewhere in the country. He urged the industry to forge international partnerships with companies in the nuclear sector, while calling on companies wishing to gain entry into nuclear power construction to ensure that they acquired the necessary quality assurance culture and practise at an early stage. “South Africa possesses a well-established system of nuclear facility operations. This includes construction and process licensing, nuclear construction and fabrication regulation, health and safety monitoring, and the training of the required skilled personnel. All of this is directly linked to general safety considerations.” Nuclear safety assurance was most important for public acceptance of the nuclear power industry, and South Africa’s strong record in this regard should be maintained as a primary foundation of the industry, Motlanthe said. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

first_imgThe moment you enter South Africa, customs officials will be nearby and ready to inspect your luggage. If you are not certain as to what to do when you cross paths with them, don’t worry, our customs guide will help put you at ease.Travellers to South Africa are able to bring two-litres of their favourite wine without the need to pay duty or value-added tax. (Image: Brand South Africa)Whether you arrive in South Africa by air, sea or land, you have to pass through customs control, where you may be questioned and your baggage may be scanned or searched for dutiable, restricted or prohibited goods.On arrival, travellers with goods to declare must complete a Traveller Card and make a verbal declaration of their goods to a customs officer, who will then generate a Traveller Declaration (TRD1).If you’re found with undeclared, restricted or prohibited goods, you could be fined or even face prosecution. To help you avoid this, and make your arrival in and departure from South Africa as smooth as possible, here’s a quick guide to moving goods in and out of the country.Note: This information serves as a guide only. It remains subject to change without notice. If you are in any doubt as to whether the goods you intend to bring into South Africa are restricted, contact your nearest South African embassy or high commission abroad (see links in box on right).What you can bring in duty-free?Once you’re over the duty-free limitRestricted: goods that you have to declareProhibited: goods that you may not bringRather safe than sorryTravellers in transitVAT refunds for touristsHow much money can I travel with?What you can bring in duty-free?You can bring the following goods into South Africa without paying customs duty or value added tax (VAT):Consumable goods in accompanied baggage:Cigarettes – up to 200 per person.Cigars – up to 20 per person.Cigarette or pipe tobacco – up to 250g per person.Perfume – up to 50ml per person; eau de toilette (scented liquid lighter than cologne) – up to 250ml per person.Wine – up to 2 litres per person.Spirits and other alcoholic beverages – up to 1 litre in total per person.People under 18 can claim this duty-free allowance on consumable goods – with the exception of alcohol and tobacco products – provided the goods are for their personal use.Medicines: You are allowed to bring in one month’s supply of pharmaceutical drugs or medicines for your personal use. Any other pharmaceutical drugs or medicines must be accompanied by a letter or certified prescription from a registered physician, and have to be declared.Personal effects, sport and recreational equipment: You can bring in personal effects, sport and recreational equipment, either as accompanied or unaccompanied baggage, for your own use during your visit.In the case of very expensive articles, you may be required to lodge a cash deposit to cover the potential duty/tax on their re-export. The deposit will be refunded on departure after a customs officer has inspected the items and verified that they are being re-exported.Handmade articles for commercial purposes: Travellers from Southern African Customs Union (SACU) or Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states are allowed to bring into South Africa handmade articles of leather, wood, plastic, or glass if the goods do not exceed 25 kilograms in total, without the payment of duties and taxes.Additional goods: In addition to the personal effects and consumables duty-free allowances, you are allowed to bring in new or used goods in accompanied baggage to the value of R5 000, or R25 000 if arriving from Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia or Swaziland.What if I am over the duty-free limit?Once the above limits are exceeded, all goods brought into South Africa are subject to the payment of customs duty and value added tax (VAT) – including goods bought duty-free on aircraft or ships or in duty-free shops.For goods of up to R20 000 in value, you have the option of paying customs duty at a flat rate of 20%. Flat-rated goods are also exempt from payment of VAT. This is valid only once per person per 30-day period.People under 18 can opt for the flat-rate assessment, provided the goods are for their personal use.Once you’re over the additional R20 000 limit – or if you waive the flat rate option – then duty will be assessed and paid on each individual item you’re carrying, and an additional 14% VAT will be charged.Goods that do not qualify for the flat-rate assessment include:Firearms.Goods for commercial purposes.Consumable goods in excess of the quantities detailed above.Goods or gifts carried on behalf of other people. Not only are these are subject to duties and taxes, but they may also require an import permit.Goods that you have to declareCertain goods are restricted, and may only be brought into South Africa if you have the necessary authority or permit, and these must be declared on arrival. They include any firearms, as well as:Currency: South African bank notes in excess of R25 000; foreign currency above $10 000; gold coins; coin and stamp collections; and unprocessed gold.Endangered plants and animals: Species of plants or animals that are listed as endangered, whether they are alive or dead, as well as any parts of or articles made from them.Food, plants, animals and biological goods: All plants and plant products, such as seeds, flowers, fruit, honey, margarine and vegetable oils. Also animals, birds, poultry and products thereof, such as dairy products, butter and eggs.Medicines: You are allowed to bring in one month’s supply of pharmaceutical drugs or medicines for your personal use. Any other medicines must be accompanied by a letter or certified prescription from a registered physician, and have to be declared.A full list of prohibited and restricted goods is available on the South African Revenue Service website: www.sars.gov.zaGoods you’re not allowed to bringIt is illegal to bring the following goods into South Africa:Narcotics: any narcotic or psychotropic substances, including drugs such as cannabis, heroin, cocaine, mandrax or ecstasy; or any paraphernalia relating to their use.Any fully automatic, military or unnumbered weapons, as well as explosives, fireworks or weapons of mass destruction.Any poison and other toxic substance.Cigarettes with a mass of more than 2kg per 1 000.Any goods to which a trade description or trademark is applied in contravention of any law (for example, counterfeit goods).Unlawful reproductions of any works subject to copyright.Any prison- or penitentiary-made goods.If you’re in any doubt about the goods you want to bring into South Africa, contact your nearest South African Embassy or High Commission abroad or the nearest SARS customs office.List of South African offices abroad: www.dirco.gov.zaContact SARS: www.sars.gov.zaRather safe than sorryYou can avoid problems by making sure that you:Always declare all goods in your possession.Produce receipts for goods purchased abroad – including goods bought duty- free on aircraft or ships or in duty-free shops.If you are unsure of the value of goods which you should declare, ask for assistance from the customs officer on duty.Remember, failure to declare goods, under-declaration of the value of goods, or production of false receipts or invoices could lead to the seizure of your goods as well as criminal prosecution or fines of up to three times the value of the goods.Travellers in transitTravellers in transit to countries outside the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), which comprises Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, do not have to comply with customs formalities in South Africa.This applies only if you have been booked from an airport outside the SACU, and you are not travelling to your final destination by road. These passengers may not leave the transit area of the airport between flights. Their baggage will automatically be transferred from their international flight.Note, however, that customs officials may still search travellers in transit and their baggage for any illegal drugs or counterfeit goods. Anyone found with such goods will be detained and handed over to the police for prosecution.PaymentsCustoms duties and taxes are payable in South African rand. Payment can be made in cash, by credit card or by means of traveller’s cheques.Should you have any questions or doubt about the amount of duty paid or payable, or any other matter about your dealings with a customs official, you should take the matter up with the senior customs officer in charge. The receipt you obtain from Customs must be given to the officer dealing with your enquiry.VAT refunds for touristsValue added tax (VAT) at a rate of 14% is levied on the purchase of most goods in South Africa. As a foreign visitor you may apply for a refund of the VAT you pay while in the country – provided you apply before you depart.To apply, make sure you get tax invoices for your purchases. Then present these to the VAT Refund Administrator at your point of departure. If he/she is not available, present your goods to a customs officer, who will inspect the goods, stamp your invoices and deliver them to the VAT Refund Administrator, who will correspond with you on the matter.For more information on how and where to apply for VAT refunds, visit www.taxrefunds.co.zaHow much money can I travel with?Currency brought into or taken from South Africa is monitored by law. Should you have more than R25 000 in South African currency or $10 000 or the equivalent thereof in foreign currency, this must be declared.As a foreign visitor, you can bring in up to R25 000 in South African currency (rands), plus an unlimited amount in foreign currencies and traveller’s cheques, provided you declare this on arrival.On departure, you can also take out R25 000 in South African currency (rands), and up to the amount in foreign currencies and traveller’s cheques that you declared when you arrived – provided you didn’t stay for more than 12 months.Temporary importsPlease note that you may be required to lodge a cash deposit to cover the potential duty/tax on expensive articles if you are bringing them in on a temporary basis. The deposit will be refunded when you leave after a customs officer has physically inspected the items and verified that the goods are being re-exported.Visitors must notify the Customs office where the deposit was lodged at least two days before you leave to ensure that the refund is ready. You will find the office number on the documents which will be given to you when paying your deposit.If you are leaving from a port other than the port where you lodged the deposit, the inspection report confirming the re-exportation of the items will be forwarded to the office where the deposit was lodged and a cheque will be posted to the address that you provided.Conference organisersIf you are bringing goods into the country specifically for a conference such as pamphlets, brochures and banners, you need to do the following:If these goods are accompanying you, you need to follow the same process as normal travellers.If the goods are not coming with you but are being sent into the country at a different time (unaccompanied baggage), you have to declare them on a DA 306 form. You need to complete the form before you come into the country and take it to your nearest customs office when you arrive in South Africa. This is a simplified clearance procedure for goods that will not be sold in the country.Source: South African Revenue ServiceReviewed: October 2015Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa materiallast_img read more

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#ReadWrite Mix Despite our passionate and undying love of all things Internet, lately a few of us here at ReadWrite have been thinking we should pay a little more attention to the time we spend offline, in what used to be known as the real world. That’s why we’ve created our ReadWrite Pause Series, exploring ways to balance our online and offline lives. It’s also why we are launching a new series of events, called ReadWrite Mix, which will take place in the real world, with real people talking to other real people, drinking real drinks and making (we hope) real connections.These will take place at ReadWrite’s real world headquarters in the hipster-filled SoMa neighborhood in San Francisco. It’s a chance to meet some of the crew from Say Media and ReadWrite, including managing editor Fredric Paul and ace reporter Jon Mitchell.Starting Next Thursday!The first ReadWrite Mix will be next week, on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 6-8 p.m. You need to RSVP (go here to sign up) and please note that space is very limited, so please sign up as soon as possible.To kick off the series, we’re doing a “media predicts” panel with Kara Swisher of AllThingsD, Owen Thomas of Business Insider, and Aaron Ricadela of Bloomberg Businessweek.We’ll be talking about what 2013 might look like for Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Square, Microsoft and others. The main thing is that we’re all pretty opinionated and though we don’t always agree on things we’re actually pretty good friends – so it’s a chance to have some fun. I’ll be moderating and putting people back into neutral corners or giving them time-outs when they misbehave.A Monthly EventWe’re hoping to make this a monthly event where we will host interesting guests – CEOs, investors, authors – and gather a crowd of hacks, flacks, nerds, geeks, techies, pundits and schmoozers for an evening of thought-provoking fun. Sometimes we’ll do a panel, but other times we’ll do a one-on-one fireside chat. (We have an amazing guest lined up for December, but I’m sworn to secrecy on it for now.)We love chronicling the incredible ways in which technology is transforming the world, but it occurs to us that in the madness of chasing down the news every day it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. We think there’s value to be gained in stepping back, slowing down and taking a few minutes to pause and reflect. It’s great to make friends on Facebook or gain followers on Twitter, but nothing beats making connections in real life.In the new ReadWrite we’re all about trying to engage with our readers and build a community. Ultimately what we want to create is not so much a publication as a conversation, one where everyone has a voice. ReadWrite Mix is just another part of that effort.SoMa (for South of Market street), the neighborhood where we’re working, is home to dozens of companies that are transforming the Internet and changing our lives. It’s an incredibly concentrated cluster of innovative brains. We want to create a place where all those creative people can gather once a month to talk and argue and brainstorm. In our wildest dreams, if we’re really lucky, ReadWrite Mix could become a place where new ideas are born.So please: come join us. Become part of this. We’ll provide the space, and the drinks, and we’ll get the conversation started. The rest is up to you. In case you missed it up above, you can sign up here.  A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img dan lyons Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts last_img read more

first_imgWe’ve made some changes to our website, most noticeably – our new web address!You can now find us at MilitaryFamiliesLearningNetwork.org where you can view or share the latest blog posts, podcasts, resources and team pages. Be sure to share the new address with your colleagues!Our returning webinar participants will notice that you can now RSVP for all our upcoming webinars and events at this new web address.Later this year, webinar recordings from learn.extension.org will be moved to this web address so you can search for all webinars and events all in one place.Interested in hearing about some of these new updates and changes? Sign up for upcoming webinar event notifications or RSVP today to register for an upcoming webinar!last_img read more

first_img Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now One thing about sales people is almost universally true: They won’t sell something they don’t believe in.I’ve seen sales organizations and salespeople absolutely refuse to sell because the product they were being asked to sell would damage their customers. They knew that by damaging their customers they would damage the long-term relationships they worked so hard to build. And they were right. They would’ve violated their client’s trust and it is unlikely that it would’ve never been able to sell them anything else.But this isn’t the case for most salespeople. Most salespeople struggle to believe in the product simply because their company has the typical problems of any company in their business. They have missed shipping dates. They have customer service issues. They have challenging customers that stretch the capabilities of their organization.The truth is that all us hold our company up to the standard beyond which most companies are capable of ever reaching. In fact, I defy you could point me to the one company that’s perfect all the time, every time. If you’re in business, problems are the nature of the game.When It’s Hard to BelieveHow do you believe when it’s hard to believe?The one thing that you can believe in is that you will be there for your client to help them with their problems. You can believe that you care and that caring will make a difference for your clients. Caring is 100% inside your control.This doesn’t mean you won’t be frustrated trying to sell inside your own organization to produce results for your clients. It doesn’t mean that you’re the one should that should handle all of the individual transactions that make up the outcomes that you sell. But it does mean that since you sold what you sold you have the authority to follow-up and make sure that it’s delivered in the way that you sold it. You can care.Believe In YourselfYou can believe that you have the ability to make a difference for your clients.You can believe that you make a difference for your internal team and help them produce those results. You can believe that by caring about your clients and the stakeholders inside your own organization that you have the power to make a difference.Your belief in yourself makes all the difference in the world as to how you sell to your clients.If you don’t believe that your company is the best position company to help your clients, then you cannot expect them to believe it either. If you don’t believe, your dream client is right not to buy from you. But it won’t matter; you won’t sell anyway.QuestionsWhat do you do when you have doubts about what you sell?How does not believing in your company hurt your ability—and willingness—to sell?How do you make a difference for your clients?Can you sell inside and make a difference for both your company and your clients?last_img read more

first_imgPragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) chief Shivpal Yadav on Sunday described the SP-BSP-RLD combine as an “alliance of crooks” and claimed that it would not be able to cross the double-digit mark in the Lok Sabha election.‘Mayawati filed cases’ Addressing a public meeting in Uttar Pradesh’s Sambhal district, Shivpal Yadav said: “(BSP chief) Mayawati, during her stint as the Chief Minister of U.P., had got cases registered against ‘netaji’ (Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Yadav). She had unleashed atrocities on SP workers.” “And, now, (SP chief) Akhilesh had shook hands with the same Mayawati. This is not a ‘gathbandhan’ of the SP-BSP, it is ‘thagbandhan’ (alliance of crooks),” said Shivpal Yadav, who is the estranged uncle of Akhilesh Yadav. The PSPL leader said the SP-BSP-RLD combine would not succeed in the general election. “You will see that this alliance will not be able to cross the double-digit mark,” he said. Pointing out that the Samajwadi Party was fighting on 35 Lok Sabha seats this time, Shivpal Yadav said: “But when the reins of party were in ‘netaji’s’ hand, the SP used to fight on all 80 Lok Sabha seats.” He claimed that the PSPL was a bigger party than the Samajwadi Party, saying the former was fighting on 60 Lok Sabha seats in the State and on 27 seats across 11 States. “We will win 15 seats and be a part of the government at the Centre,” Shivpal Yadav added.last_img read more

first_imgTwo army commanders allegedly colluded with a private developer to hand him seven acres of prime defence land worth Rs 25.50 crore in Pune. A confidential Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) report, a copy of which is with india today, notes that Lt General (retd) B.S. Thakker and Lt General Nobel Thamburaj regularised unauthorised constructions on military land. The report also holds a director in the Directorate General of Defence Estates guilty of passing decisions that helped the developer continue commercial exploitation of defence land. Lt General Thamburaj succeeded Lt General Thakker as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C), Southern Army Command, in 2006.Residency Club, formerly a residential bungalow, built on defence landThe Army recently court-martialled Lt General P.K. Rath for issuing a no-objection certificate to a private developer at the Sukna military station in West Bengal. There was, however, no transfer of defence land in Sukna. In the Pune cantonment, this alleged nexus between the Defence Estates department and the Army virtually gifted away prime defence land to Ramkumar Agarwal, a private developer and chairman of Citizen Sports and Recreation Club Pvt Ltd. Leased as a private residence, the plot has been turned into a commercial venture, the Residency Club, violating cantonment rules.The area goc-in-c heads the local government in every one of the 62 cantonments across India. Three crucial decisions that virtually legitimised the club’s occupation of defence land in Pune, one of the Army’s most important cantonments, were issued days before the incumbents either retired or moved out of office. Ved Prakash, the director of Defence Estates Organisation (DEO), set aside all notices against the club a month before his retirement in November 2006. Lt General Thakker regularised unauthorised constructions by the club just a day before he retired on January 31, 2006. On December 29, 2008, Lt General Thamburaj admitted an appeal by the private developer against the government notice for unauthorised construction. He took this decision two days before he relinquished his appointment as southern army commander and moved to Delhi as Vice-Chief of Army Staff. These decisions were taken on the case which was subjudice, the report notes.Lt General Thamburaj”The club was in existence for over a decade before I was posted in Pune. They had erected a few temporary structures for sports facilities. Proper procedures were followed and these decisions were not taken on a spur of the moment,” said Lt General Thamburaj. “The club did not monetarily benefit from my decision.” Agarwal, the owner of Residency Club, denied ever having met any of the three officials. “They have nothing to do with the club. They haven’t done me any favours,” he says.The CAG report suggests otherwise. The ‘old grant bungalow’, or a private residence built on defence land, was built in 1940. In 1986, Zarir Cooper, the Holder of Occupancy Rights (HOR), informed the army about a proposal to transfer the land to Agarwal. This was not granted. In August 1987, the HOR once again applied for permission to start a club in the premises, which was once again rejected by the deo. Defence land rules expressly stipulate that the bungalow can be used only for residential purposes. The Government can resume ownership of the land after paying the occupant the cost of the building. In 1999, however, the Director General, Defence Estates overruled the deo’s objection and okayed the transfer of the property to the private party. The main condition for the transfer was that the Government would hold the title to the land and that the bungalow would be used for residential purposes only. The developer challenged the Government’s title over the land in the civil court and began redeveloping the bungalow as a recreation club. The court confirmed the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) title on the land but restrained the Government from interfering with its use as a club. The case remained pending in court.Armed with the court order, the developer converted the bungalow into the Residency Club and made extensive alterations on the land. As none of these constructions were approved by the Cantonment Board, Pune, notices were issued on Agarwal by the board between 1992 and 2006. The builder appealed against the notices. In January 2005, he agreed to pay the MoD an annual lease rent. The Defence Estates Department assessed the rent at Rs 79 lakh per year. “Interestingly, no progress was made in this regard by the MoD,” the report notes. This inaction cost the Government over Rs 10 crore-Rs 7.91 crore in a one-time premium and Rs 3.8 crore in annual rent since 2005.The case then went to the appellate authority, Ved Prakash, then director of Defence Estates. Prakash set aside all the notices and stopped the removal of unauthorised constructions. In 2006, then goc-in-c Lt General Thakker regularised the unauthorised constructions on the deposit of a meagre Rs 8.33 lakh. He did this a few days before he retired.Lt General Thakker”No army commander can pass orders to regularise unauthorised constructions; it is Defence Estates officers who do that. Moreover, if the club has already been around for a decade before I took over them, how does the army commander come into the picture?” says Lt General Thakker.In 2006, the Pune Cantonment Board filed a suit in the Bombay High Court against Prakash’s decision stopping unauthorised constructions.In December the same year, a new Cantonment Act passed by Parliament came into force. The Act transferred appellate powers from the Defence Estates Officer to the goc-in-c. In 2007, a notice for unauthorised construction was served on the club. The developer filed an appeal before the goc-in-c Southern Command. This appeal was allowed by Lt General Thamburaj on December 30, 2008, a day prior to relinquishing charge. This decision taken despite the matter being subjudice, virtually regularised the club’s illegal constructions.The report severely indicts the army and Directorate General of Defence Estates (DGDE) for failing to protect Government property. Despite being aware of the builder’s intent in utilising the bungalow as a club, the DGDE sanctioned the property transfer. Defence Estates authorities failed to pursue the court case: no hearing was held since 1997. This soft-pedalling only loosened the Government’s hold on the land. Despite a decade, the local military authorities failed to finalise the board proceedings that were convened in 1999.Defence ministry officials say the Pune case is symptomatic of the malaise afflicting cantonments in Lucknow, Delhi and Meerut. “Most of the corruption in these cantonment areas revolves around Old Grant Bungalows,” says one official. “Even when leases expire, no effort is made to resume leases on these bungalows,” he adds. In several cases, either the land is illegally sold or the usage is changed from residential to commercial with nobody to check.A CAG report says that three crucial decisions that virtually legitimised the Residency Club’s occupation of defence land were issued just a few days before the incumbents either retired or moved out of office.Bungalow owners allege discrimination by the ‘pick and choose’ policy of lease renewal adopted by the local army commander, cantonment ceo and Defence Estate officer. “Frequent land scams take place because of the flawed land records kept by a single authority, the Defence Estates Department,” says Raghavinder Dass, president of the All-India Cantonment Bungalow Owners’ Association.This new scam to tumble out of the ministry’s closet once again highlights the dangers to prime defence land. Last year, the Defence Estates was severely criticised by a Controller of Defence Accounts (CDA) report. The report said that the DGDE, custodian of 17,000 acres of defence land worth Rs 20 lakh crore, had failed in all its primary tasks of audit, accounting, acquisition of land and financial management. The department has been unable to punish its black sheep. One of its officers, A.S. Rajgopal, was promoted twice despite being chargesheeted a few years ago. He retired as principal director of Defence Estates last year. The cda recommended closing down the DGDE. The Government is yet to take any action.Defence Minister A.K. Antony recently told Parliament that 11,000 acres of defence land were being illegally occupied all over the country. Antony said that he had asked for computerisation of the DGDE’s records. “This is preposterous. Computerisation is being held out as a panacea for corruption,” says a senior Ministry of Defence official. Computerisation of the DGDE’s land records has been on for the past five years but the organisation is nowhere near realising a central database. The DGDE has been unable to respond to even basic RTI queries on the size of defence land holdings. With no reform or accountability in sight, defence land scams will continue to stain officers of the armed forces.advertisementadvertisementadvertisementlast_img read more