Govt undertaking revamp of aviation security activities

Last Updated: Monday, February 14, 2011 - 17:14

New Delhi: The government is undertaking
a revamp of the entire gamut of activities relating to
aviation security, including restructuring of the Bureau of
Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and decisions would be taken
after they are approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security.

A series of proposals in this regard have been made by
the Civil Aviation Ministry which were being vetted by the
Union Home Ministry. A Committee has also been set up in the
Civil Aviation Ministry to decide on the installation of full-
body scanners at Indian airports.

"After the Home Ministry clears these measures, the
CCS will take a final view before anything is finalised",
Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi said after inaugurating a
two-day Regional Aviation Security Conference, being held
under the aegis of UN body International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO) in New Delhi.

He replied in the affirmative when asked whether the
proposals included restructuring of the BCAS, which lays down
aviation security standards and monitors implementation of
security rules and regulations, even through mock exercises.

India has recently successfully undertaken audit of
all major aviation security activities, including air cargo
security, he said.

To questions relating to installations of body
scanners as in the US, Ravi said, "Need is being felt to
introduce this technology in India. Some experimentation is
being carried out on Delhi.

"But there are several issues, including medical and
privacy, which have to be dealt with. There are also questions
relating to efficacy and efficiency of these equipment."

He said a Committee has been set up to go into these
issues. "We will have to be very careful before taking any
decision. All aspects have to be carefully considered", he
said, adding that "nothing has been finalised so far."

In this context, the US government is bringing a law
to forbid the posting of an airline passenger`s full-body body
scanner image on the Internet.

The proposed legislation, introduced last week in the
US Congress, would criminalise any such posting and impose on
violators fines of up to USD 1,00,000 and jail terms of up to
one year, official source here said quoting reports.

Similar laws would be needed in India whenever such
Advanced Imaging Technology is put in place at airports here,
sources said.

Asked if any cost of introducing high-tech security
gadgets would be passed on to the passengers, Ravi said, "I
don`t think so. It is the duty of the government to provide
security."

Earlier, while inaugurating the security conference,
the minister said a revamp of security operations and
organisations was on the anvil to meet the burgeoning domestic
air traffic which has been growing by over 10 per cent and was
estimated to reach 300 million by 2020.

Addressing the gathering of top aviation security
officials from across the globe, ICAO Secretary General
Raymond Benjamin said, "Let us not wait for the next terror
attack. Let us work together to prevent it."

US Transportation Security Administration chief John
Pistole, who has served for over two decades in the FBI, said,
"International terror threat requires an international
response" and called for "raising the security bar" through
global cooperation.

Aviation security experts from various countries are
deliberating on the changing threat perceptions to the sector
and whether security activities were being carried out on the
lines recommended by the global aviation body ICAO.

The Conference would evolve an aviation security
roadmap which can be used by countries to proactively and
jointly counter and prevent acts of unlawful interference
against global civil aviation.

The participants would also review the compliance by
various nations on the Security Declaration made in the 37th
ICAO Assembly last year and carry out a risk overview of the
recent developments in aviation security.

The Declaration had laid out a comprehensive aviation
security strategy, focusing on seven key areas, including ways
to address new kinds of threats, efficient security
approaches, promoting sharing of information among nations and
improving the human factor and security culture.

Officials from International Air Transport
Association, Airports Council International, European Civil
Aviation Conference and UK`s Department of Transport are
attending the conference, besides delegates from several
countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Afghanistan, Nepal,
Pakistan, Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh,
Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Bhutan.

The conference will be followed by a two-day Aviation
Security Training programme for senior executives of the
Indian aviation industry.

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 14, 2011 - 17:14

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