In the earlier manual pattern of tests, despite the IAF receiving over 4 lakh applications, owing to the limitations of testing capacity at the Airmen Selection Centres, only 80000 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 would be tested at examination centres closest to their place of residence. This would imply a near 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 Air Headquarters policy to reach out to the best talent to man and service the technology intensive platforms that equip the IAF. Apart from increased transparency and cost reduction, the initiative will help the IAF reach out to the youth in remote corners of the country and help them participate in the selection. 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. Hon’ble Raksha Mantri and Chief of the Air Staff complimented the team involved in planning and executing the online tests in collaboration with CDAC, in ensuring that the entire process was executed without any glitch. It is a major milestone that would set a new benchmark for providing a fair opportunity to deserving youth from the remote corners of the country to join the IAF.