Recruitment, reform drive on in civil aviation regulator

October 31st, 2011 - 6:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 31 (IANS) In its bid to provide more safety for air passengers, India’s civil aviation watchdog, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Monday said it has started a recruitment and reform drive.

“We have started many initiatives. The government has approved creation of 500 new jobs (at DGCA), the first batch will join soon,” DGCA Director General E.K. Bharat Bhushan said in his address at a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) event here.

According to Bhushan, the process to fill all the vacancies will take time as other government agencies like the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) are involved.

“It will take time, but it is happening. Agencies like UPSC are also involved and we are working with them,” Bhushan told reporters after the event.

Currently, the DGCA - which is the prime aviation safety, regulation and inspection authority in the country - has about 130 staff.

Bhushan said the regulatory agency has taken several steps to boost aviation safety like scanning all the certificates of over 4,000 pilots in the country to computerisation of records, as well as review of some of the lengthy bureaucratic hassles faced by the carriers.

“We are systematically checking records of nearly 4,500 airline pilot license holders. Till now we have completed checking 1,700 such licenses in a methodical way, by checking their documents, flying hours…,” Bhushan said.

Bhushan added that not only pilots but also 40-odd flying schools around the country are being scanned and have been asked to submit information called by the DGCA.

“We will start an audit of the schools. Whenever we find any discrepancy in the implementation of the rules and guidelines, we will take action. All the schools would be checked… we have even closed one school in Punjab.”

On the question of foreign pilots, Bhushan said some cases have been noted, like of pilots who obtained training from Manila (the Philippines) and have provided fake documents, and action has been taken.

“We are in touch with the Philippines authorities, who have notified few schools to us and we have, through that, identified seven to eight cases,” Bhushan said.

The aviation watchdog also pointed that as a part of its own reform programme, the pilots examination would be held online for the first time from November and that the government would spend nearly Rs.300 crore in computerisation of all the records and paperwork.

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