Bureau of Civil Aviation Security Current Affairs - 2020

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Cabinet approves Aircraft (amendment) bill, 2019

The Union Cabinet on December 11, 2019 approved Aircraft (Amendment) bill, 2019 to amend the Aircrafts act, 1934. The main objective of the bill is to fulfill the safety requirements of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Key Features of the Bill

The Bill intends to regulate the areas of air navigation. It enhances the punishment from 10 lakh rupees to 1 crore rupees for those failing to comply norms of Government of India. Also, the bill will enable three regulatory bodies namely Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB).

It will increase safety and security of air transport in the country.

Need

In 2018, the ICAO, a global aviation watchdog of the United Nations carried out a Universal Safety Audit Programme for India. The audit showed that the safety score of India declined to 57.44% in 2018 from 65.82% in 2017. The score was far less than Nepal and Pakistan. The audit was performed in air navigation services, aerodromes, aircraft accidents and investigations, ground aids, etc.

The world average score for aircraft safety set by ICAO is 65%. India’s score is far below the world average. With the successful implementation of UDAN scheme, the aircraft carriers and operators have increased. Therefore, it is mandatory to imply strict regulations to keep up the safety of the passengers.

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Home Ministry set to take over Bureau of Civil Aviation Security

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is set to move a proposal before Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for taking over Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

BCAS, currently under the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) is responsible for laying down standards, policies and measures with regard to security of all commercial flights. Multiple security agencies working at airports, including immigration officials, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) security personnel, local police and Intelligence Bureau (IB) are bound by regulations passed by BCAS.

Key Facts

The decision is based on security audit conducted by team of experts from MHA, IB, CISF and BCAS which had recommended change. Once CCS gives its approval, CISF will assume larger role in airport security. The new set-up will help in better coordination and monitoring, since CISF, IB and state intelligence all report to MHA.

It will also speed up issue of security clearances for airlines and airports as in the past, there have been inordinate delays in granting clearances due to differences between MHA and MoCA on grounds that airlines and airports have not complied with  norms despite guidelines. The move may also result in increase in passenger security fee since CISF will be deployed at all 98 airports across country.

Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS)

It was set up as a cell in Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in 1978, after an Indian Airlines flight was hijacked in September 1976. BCAS was reorganised as an independent department under MoCA in April 1987, as follow-up to Kanishka bombing in June 1985. It is currently headed by a commissioner of security.

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