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Aviation ministry to relax eligibility criteria for DGCA

The ministry plans to kick off the exercise by raising age limit & reducing work experience to attract candidates for DGCA from varied backgrounds.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Oct 28, 2011, 09.32 AM IST
NEW DELHI: The civil aviation ministry will relax the eligibility criteria for the top post at the aviation regulator after its attempts to find a suitable candidate drew a blank for the second time this year.

The ministry, which aims to overhaul sector watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) within a year, plans to kick off the exercise by raising the age limit from 56 to 58 years and reducing the work experience to attract candidates from varied backgrounds.

A senior ministry official said the relaxation in eligibility, as suggested by the UPSC, is necessary because the robust growth in aviation will entail more responsibilities for the revamped DGCA, expected to become operational by December next year. To be called the Civil Aviation Authority, the government plans to transform the DGCA into a more powerful and passengerfriendly regulator with full financial and administrative autonomy.

EK Bharat Bhushan, additional secretary and financial advisor to the ministry, currently holds additional charge of the DGCA. His tenure has been extended for a second time this year.

According a ministry’s advertisement, a candidate for the post of DGCA chief is required to have 12 years of experience in aviation, including a minimum of five years in administration and finance disciplines at the senior management level. It also invited Air-Marshalllevel air force officers, but said they shouldn’t be older than 56 years.

However, the aviation ministry could not find candidates meeting the requirements both in March as well as September. There is almost no government official who has been in the aviation sector for 12 years, the official said, adding that Air Marshall-level officers who are 56 years old haven’t shown any interest. “They’d rather become Air Chief Marshalls.”

The official said even for SNA Zaidi, the civil aviation secretary and previous DGCA chief, the eligibility criteria were reversed to five years of experience in the aviation sector and 12 years of administration skills.

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