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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

DGCA officers want their own service for job growth, perks

A DGCA officer said on condition of anonymity that in other ministries, even if promotions are not forthcoming, officers get the salary of the next grade after completing the requisite years in service. In DGCA they get neither, this person added. .

business Updated: Apr 17, 2019 07:10 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
About 150 of the 400 staff working with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have submitted a representation to the civil aviation ministry demanding what is called a group A central service.
About 150 of the 400 staff working with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have submitted a representation to the civil aviation ministry demanding what is called a group A central service. (HT File Photo)
         

Officers at India’s civil aviation regulator want a service of their own, the Indian Civil Aviation Service, because they claim this will ensure their salaries and career progression are on par with officers of organised Group A services of other ministries. About 150 of the 400 staff working with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have submitted a representation to the ministry demanding what is called a Group A central service.

The officers have written about the boom in aviation, but also stagnant career prospects, leading to demotivation.

“The career growth of DGCA officers in various directorates is stagnating for many years at different levels inevitably resulting in demotivation and discrimination. In spite of putting in more effort in the ever expanding field of aviation, there is wide disparity in pay progression and promotions between officers of DGCA and officers of Organised Group A services of other ministries,” read the representation submitted to the ministry.

According to The International Air Transport Association (IATA), India’s domestic market posted the fastest full-year domestic growth rate (across markets) for the fourth consecutive year, with an 18.6% annual demand increase.

A DGCA officer said on condition of anonymity that in other ministries, even if promotions are not forthcoming, officers get the salary of the next grade after completing the requisite years in service. In DGCA they get neither, this person added.

“The workload has increased drastically but because of the lack of an organised service, the Indian Administrative Service gets the top positing and DGCA staff hardly gets promotion. A committee headed by MK Kaw, former secretary, civil aviation, that was set up in 2005 for reviewing and restructuring DGCA, recommended the creation of Indian Civil Aviation Service to man the various positions in DGCA but even after completion of more than 12 years, no affirmative action has been taken,” said a second DGCA official who too asked not to be named.

The number of aircraft with scheduled airlines in India was 620 as on July 31, 2018, up from 448 in March 2016. India’s 17 scheduled airlines operated 9.22 lakh flights in 2017-18, up from 8.1 lakh from previous year. International aircraft movement was 3.79 lakh in 2017-18 against 3.45 lakh in 2016-17. DGCA staff not only issue licences to pilots, airports and aircraft, but also investigates accidents and have to ensure air safety by conducting regular inspection.

DGCA chief, BS Bhullar, declined comment on the matter.

The representation added that the National Civil Aviation Policy, 2016, emphasised career progression of DGCA officers for their efficient performance.

“The policy categorically quotes: ‘In order to attract and retain talent in DGCA, compensation will be paid at par with the industry in consultation with Department of Personal and Training (DoPT) and Ministry of Finance. A suitable programme for capacity building of DGCA officers and staff will be implemented including exposure to global best practices.’ In this context, introduction of Organised Group A service will get rid of career stagnation of the officers vis-à-vis reduce shortage of technical human resources by induction of officers in the feeder grade,” the representation read. A DoPT official, who did not want to be named, said, “The department has not yet received a proposal in the regard. But the government always encourages officers with domain and sectoral knowledge. Recently, the government appointed a dozen officers in various capacities because of domain knowledge. Earlier too, officers with domain knowledge had been appointed.”