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Women 'pilot' India's aviation industry to new heights

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New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) “Flying does not rely so much on strength, as on physical and mental coordination,” once said Raymonde de Laroche, the first lady to solo an airplane and the world’s first licensed women pilot. These words, echoing through the annals of aviation history, are finding new resonance in India’s contemporary skies.

In a groundbreaking stride towards gender equality and representation, India’s aviation industry is witnessing a historic surge in the number of female airline pilots. Recent data released by the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) revealed that women now constitute a remarkable 14 per cent of airline pilots in India, surpassing the global average by more than twice the margin.

Aviation watchdog, DGCA, claimed to have issued a decade-high commercial pilot licences (CPLs) in 2023, with 18.12 per cent of them granted to women pilots, marking a remarkable upswing of 22.5 per cent compared to 2022 figures.

According to the DGCA, 294 CPLs were issued in 2023, compared to 240 in the previous year.

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“This is the second consecutive year where the number of licences issued reached a decade high,” said a senior DGCA official, emphasising the sustained momentum driving this transformative shift.

With the expectation that this trend will continue, India’s aviation industry is poised for further advancements in gender inclusivity and representation.

The surge of women in aviation not only reflects a narrowing gender gap but also underscores the country’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce.

As India celebrates International Women’s Day, this milestone serves as a testament to the resilience and determination of women breaking barriers and charting new territories in traditionally male-dominated fields. Captain Pearl Varma, the first woman Type Rating Instructor at Akasa Air, expressed her pride in being part of India’s aviation growth story.

“Our country is among the global leaders in empowering women professionals in aviation, and there is a noticeable increase in women’s representation in the industry, including frontline roles,” she remarked.

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Varma highlighted Akasa Air’s efforts in promoting gender diversity, with over one-third of its overall workforce and roughly half of its non-frontline comprising female employees.

Amid this celebration of progress, the story of Divya Nancy Tirkey, a resilient and determined woman, shines as an inspiration.

Born into a middle-class family with a deep connection to aviation, Tirkey’s dream of becoming a pilot faced numerous challenges.

Initially discouraged by financial constraints, she pursued engineering but later embraced her passion for flying after a diagnosis of tuberculosis.

Despite facing setbacks and financial burdens, Tirkey’s unwavering determination led her to fulfill her dream, eventually becoming a Senior First Officer with IndiGo. Tirkey’s journey epitomises the power of perseverance and resilience in overcoming obstacles.

An evaluation during a roundtable discussion at the recent event ‘Wings India 2024’ also revealed that India currently has a 15 per cent representation of women in air traffic control, 11 per cent in-flight dispatch, including cabin crew, and 13 per cent at the mid-managerial levels.

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“Amid the exponential growth of India’s civil aviation sector, it is indisputable that the skies are expansive, offering ample space for the inclusion of more women. The launch of a new framework, featuring enhanced mentorship and sponsorship programs, will empower and catalyse this advancement. This framework will also propel Indian aviation into a more gender-inclusive future,” said Jaideep Mirchandani, chairman of aviation major Sky One.

He said that to bring more women into aviation, we should acknowledge and celebrate the impressive accomplishments of women pioneers in various areas of aviation.

“These trailblazers can serve as inspirational role models for women aspiring to pursue various roles within these sectors,” said Mirchandani.

“The proposed framework should also delve into a thorough examination of the opportunities and challenges as far as women’s participation and leadership in STEM fields are concerned. This will facilitate a comprehensive approach to empowerment,” Mirchandani added.

(Shekhar Singh can be reached shekhar.s@ians.in)

–IANS

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Army man attacked by group of five in Karnataka's Tumakuru

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Tumakuru, May 25 (IANS) The Karnataka Police on Friday registered a case against five individuals for attacking a soldier of the Indian Army with a beer bottle at a village under the Koratagere police station limits here.

The injured soldier, Govindaraju (30), is admitted to Koratagere government hospital.

Govindaraju, posted in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, had returned to his hometown in Rayawara village on vacation

According to the police, the incident occurred at Bhyrenahalli while Govindaraju was returning home after visiting someone in the village.

A group of five individuals stood in the road, blocking Govindaraju’s path. When he asked them to allow him to pass through, the group enraged and started abusing him. Later, one of them smashed Govindaraju’s head with a beer bottle. Others in the group also attacked him.

The accused individuals have been identified as Bharath, Puneeth, Gourishankar, Shiva, and Dileep.

Following the soldier’s complaint, the Koratagere police have filed a case against the accused individuals and launched a hunt to apprehend them.

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The Koratagere Assembly constituency is represented by Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara.

–IANS

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Delhi cops pose as NGO workers in Assam to nab man absconding for 16 years

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) A man, who had been on the run for 16 years for allegedly attacking his wife with a knife, was arrested from a forest area in southern Assam. The arrest was made by a team of the Delhi Police Crime Branch, which posed as NGO volunteers to prevent any potential complications, an official said.

The accused, identified as Noor Mohammad, was wanted in an attempt to murder case.

Noor Mohammad, who was separated from his wife, had attacked her face and head with a sharp-edged “dao” during an altercation, resulting in serious injuries. Sensing the gravity of the situation, he fled, leaving her in a critical condition.

“The police team had been gathering information about Noor Mohammad, who was wanted in an attempted murder case by the Najafgarh police since 2008. They discovered he was in Assam and reached Mankachar, South Salmara, near the Bangladesh border,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Amit Goel.

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Due to the remote and forested area, there was a high risk of the team’s cover being blown. “To mitigate this, the team posed as members of an NGO assisting woodcutters and conducted a detailed survey of the area for three consecutive days. Their relentless efforts paid off, and they successfully identified and apprehended Noor Mohammad,” said the DCP.

Noor Mohammad told police that he came to Delhi in 1997 in search of livelihood. He started working with a scrap dealer in the Bhogal area of Delhi and married Muniza in 2000.

However, after a few years of marriage, they separated due to matrimonial disputes. After allegedly committing the crime, Noor Mohammad escaped from Delhi and relocated to Assam, choosing a different location from his native place to hide.

“He had been working as a woodcutter in a nearby forest area and was living there with his second wife and children,” the DCP said.

–IANS

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LS polls: Over 25L voters to decide fate of 23 candidates in Gurgaon constituency

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Gurugram, May 24 (IANS) The sixth phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections will see voters in all 10 Parliamentary constituencies in Haryana exercising their franchise on Saturday (May 25). In the Gurgaon LS seat, a total of 25,33,958 voters will decide the fate of 23 candidates who are in the fray.

Campaigning ended on Thursday at 6 p.m. after which the Gurugram district administration imposed Section 144 which restricts the gathering of five or more persons.

Candidates from five major parties including five-time sitting MP Rao Inderjit Singh of the BJP, Raj Babbar from Congress, singer-rapper Rahul Yadav — popularly known as Fazilpuria — of Jannayak Janta Party, Vijay Kumar from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Sohrab Khan from the Indian National Lok Dal are contesting from Gurgaon Lok Sabha seat.

In nine Assembly segments of the Gurgaon Lok Sabha constituency, over 2,000 polling booths have been set up.

Of the total number of voters, 13,51,239 are male while 12,2,641 are female. The number of third-gender voters in the Gurgaon Lok Sabha constituency is 78.

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Voting time on May 25 has been fixed from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Arrangements have also been made to ensure that people above 85 years of age and people with disabilities can cast their vote from home.

Rao Inderjit Singh represented the Gurgaon LS constituency three times in a row — in 2009, 2014 and in 2019.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, he won the seat with a margin of 3,86,256 votes.

Rao Inderjit Singh got 8,81,546 votes. He defeated Congress candidate Captain Ajay Singh who got 4,95,290 votes. BSP candidate Chaudhary Rais Ahmad stood third with 26,756 votes in the constituency.

Meanwhile, over 10,000 security personnel, including those from the paramilitary forces, will be deployed during the polling.

–IANS

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Rajasthan govt orders audit of deaths 'caused by heatwaves'

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Jaipur, May 25 (IANS) The Rajasthan government on Friday ordered an audit of deaths “caused by heatwaves” in the state and constituted a committee for it.

Additional Chief Secretary of the Health Department Shubhra Singh instructed officials during a meeting that heat stroke as the cause of death should only be reported after an investigation by the audit committee.

“Deaths being reported in medical institutions should be investigated by the audit committee as per protocol. Only after the investigation, deaths due to heat stroke should be reported on the IHIP portal,” she said.

Singh also refuted reports which claimed a woman and her son died due to heat stroke in Pali.

She said that the family of Samandar Singh, who allegedly died due to heat stroke, denied postmortem following his death. He had no symptoms of heat stroke.

“Similarly, Samandar Singh’s 80-year-old mother Raju Kanwar was a heart patient. She was admitted to the government hospital in Sadri on May 23 after difficulty in breathing and chest pain and died during treatment on May 24. The medical team said that the cause of death was heart failure. Her death was also not found to be due to heat stroke,” Singh added.

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She directed officials of the Health Department to work with sensitivity and ensure the availability of coolers, fans, ACs and water facilities in hospitals.

All arrangements should be made in three days else strict action will be taken against concerned officials, she said.

–IANS

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Two men die cleaning septic tank in Delhi

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New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) Two men died while cleaning a septic tank in Delhi’s Old Jasola village on Friday, the police said.

According to the police, a PCR call was received at the Sarita Vihar police station on Friday afternoon informing that two men fell in a ‘gutter’ (sewerage) at Old Jasola Village following which a police team was rushed to the spot.

Upon reaching the spot, the police found that two persons had been hired to clean a septic tank by a man named Iqbal Singh, a resident of the same locality.

“As they entered the septic tank to rectify a glitch, they fell unconscious,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-East), Rajesh Deo.

A fire tender team was called to the spot which pulled the two persons out of the tank and sent them to the hospital, where they were declared dead.

“One of the deceased has been identified as Rajprakash Singh (60), a resident of Molarband Extension. The identity of the second person is being verified,” the DCP said.

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–IANS

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