Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) addressed the Air Force Association at their annual day at Air Force Auditorium, Subroto Park, New Delhi. The Air Chief conveyed to the audience the IAF’s extraordinary contribution in evacuation of Indian Nationals from war-torn Yemen and in ‘Op Maitri’ proved beyond doubt the high professional standards of our air warriors and re-affirmed the Nation’s faith in the capability of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Further, the Air Chief highlighted the role of IAF during Human Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. He conveyed to the audience that during ‘Op Maitri’ in the aftermath of devastating earthquake in Nepal, the IAF with alacrity pressed into service C-130J aircraft airborne with relief material within four hours of the incident. During this operation, a total 1600 sorties were undertaken, 12000 people rescued and 1500 tones of weight airlifted. He also highlighted the role of IAF in terms of air support provided during war-torn Yemen by evacuating Indian Nationals. The immediate response in providing potable water to Maldives was lauded by one and all, he said.
The Air Chief informed the veterans on the induction of C-17 strategic airlift aircraft and C-130J special operations aircraft that has enhanced our effectiveness in operations. He also conveyed that a large fleet of Mi-17 V5 medium lift helicopters is being utilised in air logistics support of the Indian Army and other state agencies based in Northern and Eastern part of country. Towards operational infrastructure, the Air Chief brought out that Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) in north east sector are being upgraded for operation of C-130J class of aircraft.
Expressing his views on Human Resources Initiatives, the Air Chief said that IAF had kept the professional growth and well-being of its air warriors as the prime guiding principle in its HR policies. He brought out that the facilities had been created at every station to ensure that the health and fitness levels of air-warriors and their dependents are maintained.
Speaking on the role of Directorate of Air Veterans (DAV), the CAS said that it had been successful in reducing the processing time of pension cases. He also said that while Pension Pay Orders (PPOs) for officers and airmen proceeding on scheduled discharge/retirement are being issued two months prior. As far as PPOs in case of Premature Separation Cases are concerned, the Dte has cut down the period from 5-6 months to 3-4 months. While highlighting the role of Air Force Group Insurance Scheme (AFGIS), the Air Chief said that the agency has introduced Post Retirement Insurance Cover Scheme (PRIC-2015) wef 01 July 2015 in place of PRIC-2011. The new scheme provides enhanced insurance cover to air veterans. He also said that the agency has launched a special drive to reach out to orphans of air warriors and enquire about their financial well being. The Air Chief lauded the contribution of Indian Air Force Benevolent Association (IAFBA) to the audience. He said that the agency had made a positive impact on the lives of our air warriors both in past and the present.