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IAF conducts first-ever online exam for selection of airmen

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Kolkata: In yet another first, the Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully conducted its first online selection test for airmen from May 3 to 6.

Taking forward the Digital India initiative, the first-ever Scheduled Test for Airmen Recruitment (STAR) was conducted successfully through computer-based online tests in collaboration with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) Pune, a Government of India organisation functioning under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

This is the first instance of the three services undertaking selection tests online, according to an IAF statement on Thursday.

The statement further elaborated that it was now easier for candidates to apply and appear for the selection process, without having to go through the earlier filtration process.

A total of 4,09,169 candidates had registered for the online STAR examination and it was conducted at 439 centres in 102 cities across the country.

This included over 100 centres in the North Eastern states, Jammu and Kashmir and states which have limited representation in the IAF.

Over 80 per cent of the candidates were allotted centres of their first choice. 3,20,678 candidates (78.37%) out of those who had registered appeared for the online test.

Despite the IAF receiving over 4 lakh applications, owing to the limitations of testing capacity at the Airmen Selection Centres, only 80,000 to 1 lakh candidates could be called to undergo the written test.

Candidates were therefore screened out based on their Class 12 marks, thus denying opportunity to otherwise eligible candidates.

In the online test format, all eligible candidates applying for STAR were tested at examination centres closest to their place of residence.

This implied a nearly eight-fold increase in the number of candidates who would be tested annually. The IAF stands to gain from the larger pool of candidates to choose from while offering a level playing field to all eligible candidates.

The initiative is part of the IAF’s policy to gather the best talent and provide service to the technology-intensive platforms.

Apart from increased transparency and cost reduction, the initiative will help the IAF reach out to the youth in remote corners of the country.

Being the first-of-its-kind initiative, the conduct of the examination was closely monitored by the highest echelons of Air Headquarters and Command Headquarters.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa complimented the team involved in planning and executing the online tests without any major glitch, IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Anupam Banerjee stated.

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