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Monday, December 21, 2009

101 unhappy pilots looking to get out of IAF

NEW DELHI: Unhappy with the career prospects in the Indian Air Force (IAF), over 100 of its pilots have sought premature retirement in the last one year.

"Around 101 pilots of the IAF have applied for grant of premature retirement during the last one year. The broad reasons furnished by the applicants for grant of the premature retirement are supercession, lack of career progression, medical and compassionate grounds," Defence Minister A K Antony told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply on Wednesday.

The IAF has been facing a shortage of 400 pilots; according to senior officials, it would take another five years to plug the gap.

The IAF has set on a "proactive publicity" campaign to contain the exodus of the trained pilots.

"Concerted efforts are taken by the IAF to carry out a proactive publicity campaign to reach the target group across the country, such as participation in fairs and exhibitions, advertisement in print and electronic media including recruitment and career related articles, motivational lectures at school etc," said Antony.

According to senior IAF officials, the lucrative salary packages outside and not so smooth career progressions within the air force are forcing youngsters to opt for greener pastures.

The development is a cause for concern for the IAF, which is 800 officers short, and has fighter jet squadron strength much below the required strength of 42.

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