US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has expressed serious concern over a large number of vacancies in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), at a time when air traffic in India is growing at a rapid pace.
The vanancies include top posts of Joint Director General and Deputy Director General.
Of the 427 posts sanctioned by the government in 2009 for various directorates of the DGCA, it is understood that around 350 posts have lapsed as they were not filled up in so many years.
The vacancies include top technical positions of two Joint Directors General, five Deputy Directors General and over 100 Directors, Deputy Directors and Assistant Directors.
Admitting the existence of a large number of vacancies, Minister of State for Civil Aviation K C Venugopal had earlier informed Rajya Sabha that "a total of 528 posts are lying vacant against the sanctioned strength of 924".
In reply to a written question, he had said that filling up of the vacancies was "a continuous process and is done in accordance with the laid down procedure".
He also said that an additional 427 posts of Group A, B and C categories were created in the DGCA in 2009, out of which some were new posts for which no recruitment rules existed.
"In respect of other existing posts also, the recruitment rules were needed to be reviewed and amended."
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said in Lok Sabha that in 2011, 16 persons were recruited for DGCA, in 2012, it was 44 and this year, it was only seven till March 20.
FAA, which carried out an audit of the DGCA and put it on notice earlier this month, is also understood to have taken serious note of the lack of policy and procedures for selection of skilled manpower, on-the-job training (OJT) or even for surveillance of type-rated training organisations.