Members Login
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Inject the truth serum


Status: Offline
Posts: 2289
Inject the truth serum
Permalink Closed

News item

May 23, 2006

Inject the truth serum --- candid corner | Abhishek Singhvi

May 23, 2006

Three unconnected institutions -- the gubernatorial office, the
Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and Air-India -- illustrate different
facets of public interest and how this can be promoted or prejudiced
by acts and omissions which are not always what they seem.

Having written earlier in these columns about the commendable
charitable work being done by the Governor of Uttaranchal and the
public recognition accorded to this work officially by no less a
person than the President, I was surprised to read allegations
regarding misuse of his official position by him to raise funds for
his favourite charities. A closer examination reveals that the
charities in question have truly done yeoman service in a selfless
and compassionate manner and that, till date, there has been
absolutely no complaint about any misuse of funds. Sometimes, a
crusade intended to be in the public interest may itself prejudice
public interest. This appears to be the case here. Given the best of
motives, the press report about the Governor may well inhibit the
activities of the Himjyoti Foundation and that would be a real pity.


While some of the hullabaloo by Air-India pilots and employees over
the hiring of foreign commanders (ie. the head pilot flying the Air-
India flight) to the exclusion of and at the cost of available
competent Indian commanders may be ascribed to internal politics of
the national carrier and to inter-personal ego problems, the entire
issue cannot be wished away as frivolous. There appears to be some
truth in the basic charge that Indian co-pilots who are at the
threshold of attaining commander status are not allowed to proceed
to or obtain the requisite training or flying hours that will make
them eligible to be commanders. But AI appears to persist with
selecting relatively junior pilots arbitrarily to proceed for
training, excluding senior pilots from command training. This
engineers an artificial shortage of Indian commanders who can
command big jumbos on long international flights.

This artificially engineered shortage is then used to hire foreign
commanders. These foreigners, hired on special contract basis, are
outside the normal financial rules and regulations of the carrier.
Their salary and allowances are exorbitant and much higher than that
obtained by their Indian counterpart commanders. Their leave and off-
flying hour regimes are much more liberal. Indeed, serious
allegations have even been made that these foreign pilots are hired
through benami recruitment agencies set up abroad by some senior Air-
India officials themselves.

The system naturally results in a far higher outgo by the Indian
exchequer, in a discriminatory and dual regime qua Indian pilots and
in a high degree of demoralisation amidst regular AI pilots and
employees. Only a thorough inquiry by an independent government
audit team can establish the truth. If found even partly true, it
would merit stern action being taken expeditiously.

Page 1 of 1  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to

Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard