New Delhi: Candidates who appeared for the Airmen X and Y Group examination for induction into the Indian Air Force in July 2021 before the launch of the Agnipath scheme are left in the lurch as the results of the exam have never been released and their fees never refunded, a Right to Information (RTI) query filed by one of the aggrieved aspirants has revealed
Stating that this examination was earlier conducted twice a year but was only held once each in 2020 and 2021, Kamil added that the Union government then did away with this system of selection since it brought in the new Agnipath system of recruitment into the armed forces.
Recalling his own experience, Kamil wrote that he was preparing for the government exam right after he completed Class 12, when the vacancies for airmen were announced in January 2021.“I enthusiastically prepared for the exam for about seven months,” he said, adding that in doing so, he had to take his time off the academic subjects of his law course.
Thereafter, Kamil said all the Indian Air Force aspirants waited for the next eight to ten months to hear about the outcome of the examination. Ultimately, he said, it came to light that the Agniveer system had been implemented to select the candidates for Airmen X and Y group as well.
Despite the announcement of the scheme, Kamil added that several questions remained in the minds of the candidates even as the new vacancies were sought to be filled through the Agnipath scheme.
Website not working
Kamil said the candidates were never informed why the result of the examination, held in July 2021, was never declared. Apart from this, he said the concerned website, too, was removed from the internet. Ideally, this website could have been used to provide the candidates with the necessary information on the outcome of the examination.
Kamil also said the government did not provide any information about the 01/2021 vacancies of the Air Force X and Y group exams. It also did not provide any reasons why the website was removed and why the result was not declared. Finally, he asked what happened to the Rs 15,85,62,250 that the government had collected from the students for the examination.Searching for answers to these questions, Kamil filed an RTI application with the Air Force Headquarters on August 30, 2022 seeking information under five points.
In response to Mohammad Kamil’s queries, the Directorate of Personal Services, Air Head Quarters (Vayu Bhawan), New Delhi sent him a reply to all his queries on October 6, 2022 through its Central Public Information Officer.
In response to his first query on how many students submitted application forms for the Indian Air Force X and Y group examination, the Directorate replied saying, “Total number of candidates who submitted application form in response to notification for STAR 01/2021 is 6,34,249”.On the total fees or funds collected from these candidates, the IAF reply stated that “as per Para 5 of advertisement/ notification for STAR 01/2021, an examination fee of Rs 250 was to be paid by the candidates at the time of registration through payment gateway or challan at an branch of Axis Bank”.So, it acknowledged that a sum of Rs 250 each was collected from 634,249 candidates – leading to a total corpus of over Rs 15.85 crore.
Effect of the Agnipath scheme
To another query from the candidate seeking the record of the website where Air Force X and Y group applicants 01/2021 submitted their applications, the Directorate replied that “as per Para 1 of the notification for STAR 01/2021 online registration was conducted at www.airmenselecction.cdac.in”.
The Directorate did not accede to Kamil’s final request to be provided with photocopies of the question paper of the Air Force X and Y group exam conducted from July 12-18, 2021. It only stated that the information sought was “vague in nature” and “not specific”.