To make the job of flying government aircraft more lucrative, the Maharashtra government has raised the salaries of its five pilots and also made them permanent government employees.
The stricter eligibility criteria for government pilots the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued in 2009 after the death of then Andhra Pradesh chief minister Rajshekhar Reddy had made it very difficult for the state to find pilots to fly its craft.
This was forcing dignitaries such as chief minister, governor and other ministers, for whom the aircraft are meant, to opt for commercial airlines or hire private vehciles, which was bleeding the exchequer.
“After our trained pilot for the Cessna Citation XLS aircraft quit last June, we could not replace him. The plane was sitting idle as his replacement did not fulfill the criterion of having flown a Cessna for 150 hours. We are hiring a trainer for him,” said an official from the Mantralaya.
During the process of the recruiting a new pilot, the government realised the pay scale it was offering was way lower than the private sector.
“Though we cannot match the pay scale in private sector, we have decided to raise the salary by Rs 50,000 a month and it will now range between Rs 1.75 and Rs 3 lakh a month. The existing salaries of the pilot range between Rs 1.25 lakh and Rs 2.50 lakh. We have also decided to confirm their services to give them job security,” the official said.
The officer said that the proposal has been sent to the finance department, and annual allocation will have to be raised to Rs 1.5 crore from Rs 74 lakh.
The pilots with the state government get accommodation in south Mumbai and an official car.