On January 15, 2023, the Bureau of Civil Aviation (BCAS) in consultation with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the CISF have initiated a “new important security measure” to secure airport installations and the safety of passengers taking flights from small towns and cities.
The measure is a part of India’s Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme launched by the Home Ministry on October 21, 2016.
The Civil Aviation Ministry will be the regulating agency and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will take charge of the implementation process.
Under this measure, more than 60 airports in (Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities) will witness a heavy deployment of troops from India’s paramilitary force called Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
There are some airports- (e.g., Shimla Airport) that are guarded by the CISF. However, many airports in smaller cities are guarded by state police forces and their special units. This has led to a non-uniformity in airport securing apparatus.
In addition to the CISF, armed personnel from private security agencies will be posted and deployed at these airports.
As per a senior official from the Home Ministry, the CISF will get the fresh manpower to guard all the UDAN airports from the pool of 3,049 posts that were abolished recently and from the airports that it is guarding, and replaced by hiring a total of 1,924 private security personnel for these tasks.
The State Government and the AAI will provide lodging facilities for 57 armed troops. New security gadgets will be provided to them that include handheld metal detectors, and X-ray machines for baggage checking and individual frisking.
The lodging facilities don’t need to be present within the airport premises. They can be located at a nearby governmental barrack or residence. In some cases, the CISF will draw its manpower from the available security unit.
The CISF will take overall charge of the anti-terror and anti-hijack cover. It will further conduct surveillance and reconnaissance operations. There will be a Quick Reaction Team model for the protection of the terminal.
The airports in smaller cities are as important as that those in the main cities and metropolis. Additionally, the UDAN will provide regional air connectivity and make air travel affordable to the masses residing in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and towns.