July 2003 News

IAF takes civilian authorities' help for recruitment in J&K

10 July 2003
The Hindu
Sandeep Dikshit

SRINAGAR: The Indian Air Force, for the first time, has taken the assistance of civilian authorities in recruiting youth from Jammu and Kashmir. The State Government's involvement is expected to help it approach the youth in the outlying districts instead of just those close to Srinagar. It would also provide an indirect boost to the Government's 'healing touch' policy. One of its main planks is providing more employment opportunities. 'We expect a reasonably large response,' said the Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Phani Major. The IAF is following a model it had tried in Tripura, another State hit by militancy. The close involvement of the State Government helped it to reach out to the remote areas and the IAF expects to enrol 100 youth from Tripura this year. About 1,000 youth got employment in technical and non-technical grades of personnel below officer rank (PBOR), said Air Vice- Marshal Major, the IAF's senior- most officer in charge of personnel. Recruitment drive in remote and underdeveloped areas are considered essential because the youth does not get exposed to employment opportunities in many Central Government departments. Youth from these areas also do not have the economic means to attend similar exposure programmes in the heartland. In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, youngsters were expected to visit Ambala, several hundreds miles away, to learn more about the IAF's recruitment process. 'We have done our homework for the three- day recruitment rally in Srinagar,' said the Air Vice-Marshal. 'with the active cooperation of the State Government, we have prepared capsule programmes detailing the advantages of joining the Service.' The IAF had conducted six rallies in Jammu and Kashmir three years ago but the response was nominal. Based on its calculations of male recruitable population of a State, it feels that at least 1,200 personnel from Jammu and Kashmir should be in its ranks. However, for the past few years, only 300 to 400 men from the State have been recruited by the IAF. In the next phase, rallies are planned at Ladakh, Kargil, Leh, Doda and Jammu where they would be told that the IAF not only offers an assured 20-year service span but also re- employment potential after retirement. The All-India Council for Technical Education has agreed to award a civil equivalent certificate for 10 years of service. The diploma will make them eligible for employment in the private sector. So far, the public sector had accepted these superannuated personnel who did not have a formal certificate despite working on aircraft and other sophisticated systems. The certificate would help offset the drying up of employment opportunities in the public sector.


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