Manpower shortage leading to pilots faking licenses: MPs

August 15th, 2011 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) A parliamentary committee has said it is no surprise that pilot licenses are being acquired with fake certificates when an alarming manpower shortage is plaguing the aviation industry.

It has asked the government to remove bureaucratic and procedural hurdles that have caused shortage of manpower at all levels, including pilots, at the aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). MPs pointed fingers at the finance ministry for imposing a ban on recruitment in DGCA for the past 10 years when the civil aviation sector boomed.

“The committee was at loss to find DGCA had a large number of positions lying vacant for years together due to prolonged procedure. As a result their (DGCA) numbers came down from 250 to 145 during 2001-2009,” said the committee.

According to the committee, the shortage of manpower was also seen in pilots, aircraft maintenance staff, engineers and air operation inspectors, who play a critical role in oversight of safety as airworthiness, competence of pilots and grant of licences.

“How efficiently DGCA was fulfilling these mandates with highly depleted manpower could be anyone’s guess,” said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture in its report tabled in parliament last week.

The committee headed by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) member Sitaram Yechury also said: “In such a situation, instances of obtaining pilots’ licences on the basis of fake certificates should not come as a surprise to anybody.”

Recently the government approved creation of 427 technical and 129 non-technical support staff posts at the regulatory body. Currently, the aviation regulator employees 432 technical personnel.

“Although some steps were taken to recruit more staff during the past one year, it took more than eight years during this crucial period. The committee really feels concerned about such state-of-affairs.”

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