Gender Gap in STEM Field

In Context

  • The United Nations has highlighted the need for inclusive technology and digital education to narrow the Gender gap in the domains of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – collectively termed the STEM fields.


  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – collectively termed the STEM fields – continue to be dominated by men. 
  • Given the pervasive influence of STEM fields in modern life, women’s underrepresentation in these fields poses a major challenge.
  • Recently, International Women’s Day 2023 (IWD) was commemorated under the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”.

Gender Gap in STEM Field

  • Global Scenario: 
    • Globally, 18 percent of girls in higher-level education are pursuing STEM studies, compared with 35 percent of boys.
    • Even within the STEM fields, there lies a gender divide, with similar numbers of boys and girls pursuing natural sciences while far more boys looked to engineering, manufacturing and construction.
    • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates that 41 percent of women in developing countries are illiterate, compared with 20 percent of men.
  • Indian Scenario:
    • In India, the enrolment of girls in engineering programmes is significantly lower when compared to their male counterparts. 
    • According to data from the All India Survey of Higher Education for 2020-2021, the overall in UG, PG, MPhil and PhD engineering programmes, the total enrolment is 36,86,291 where 71 percent of enrolled students were males and 29 percent were females.
    • However, of all students enrolled in the STEM field, women at 53 percent of enrolment outnumbered men and some increases have been witnessed of late. These gains, though, don’t necessarily mean there will also be an increase in employment, because of multiple factors.

Reasons for Gender Gap

  • Societal attitudes: Though the presence of existing resources such as mentors and programmes offering scholarships, the general societal attitudes on women’s education do not encourage families to invest in it as much as they do for boys.
    • For example: Stereotypical gender roles like women work as housewives.
  • Gender bias in curricula:  For instance, in India, more than 50 per cent of illustrations in math and science textbooks in primary show boys and only 6 percent show illustrations of girls.
    • In the UK, over a quarter of girls say they have been put off a career in tech as it is too male-dominated and only 22 per cent can name a famous female working in the field.
  • Discrimination in employment: Women continue to face the same kind of discrimination at work as they face in society.
  • Timing in a scientists’ career: The prime time for a scientist in his/her career is also the time when women usually get married or have children. This puts a lag on their career. Even a six months delay in research in science, particularly experimental work, implies that your work gets left behind and your career suffers.
  • Lack of STEM Institutions: STEM institutions and colleges dosent’s established in the nearby area.
  • Cascading impact: Lack of women in STEM to inspire other girls.

Government Initiatives

The government has implemented a slew of measures to encourage women in scienceSome include:

  • Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI): It is a pilot project under the Department of Science and Technology to promote gender equity in science and technology. In the first phase of GATI, 30 educational and research institutes have been selected by DST, with a focus on women’s participation in leadership roles, faculty, and the number of women students and researchers. 
  • Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN): It is a plan under the Department of Science and Technology to encourage women scientists and also prevent women scientists from giving up research due to family reasons. 
  • SERB-POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research): SERB – POWER provides structured support in research to ensure equal access and weighted opportunities for Indian women scientists engaged in R&D activities.
  • Consolidation of University Research through Innovation and Excellence in Women Universities (CURIE) Programme: Only women Universities are being supported for the development of research infrastructure and the creation of state-of-the-art research laboratories to enhance women’s participation in the S & T domain.
  • Vigyan Jyoti Scheme: It encourages girl students of Class 9 to 12 to pursue education and career in S&T, particularly in the areas where women are underrepresented.
  • National Award for woman scientist: To recognize the contribution of women scientists in the field of Earth System Sciences, Ministry of Earth Sciences has initiated a special award called “National Award for woman scientist” which is conferred to one-woman scientist each year on the Foundation Day.
  • Setting up of creches: Some institutions are setting up creches so that the scientist mothers can carry on with their research work uninterrupted. 

Way Ahead

  • Need for societal change: Societal systems and biological asymmetry, family upbringings have cultivated a mindset in children, especially among girls who feel that they are not up to it.
  • Flexibility on worker’s part: Circumstances should be created to make working easier for a woman in the STEM field in particular and the rest of the field in general. Providing Menstrual leaves & creche facilities would be a good step in this regard.
  • Other reforms: Like Return-to-work programmes for women, closing the pay gap, initiating a well-planned role model for STEM programmes.

Modern And Smart Power Transmission System

In News

  • Recently, the Government accepted a Task force report to modernise India’s transmission system.


  • The Power Ministry set up a taskforce under the chairmanship of CMD, POWERGRID to suggest ways for modernization of the Transmission Sector and making it smart & future ready.
  • The Task force report has recommended the following solutions  to achieve the government’s vision to provide 24×7 reliable and affordable power to the people
    • Operation of grid using Centralised Remote Monitoring
    • Operation of Substations by using modern systems like SCADA, Flexible AC Transmission devices (FACTs)
    • Wide Area Measurement using PMUs and data analytics, 
    • Predictive maintenance  using AI/ML algorithms
    • Deployment of Process Bus based Protection Automation and Control GIS/Hybrid Substation.

Need for a Modern transmission system:

  • With india focussing on renewable power which is inherently variable,the transmissions system should be capable of dealing with increased share of renewable capacity in the power-mix
  • Strong  cyber security protection is needed for the transmission system in times of increasing cyber crimes .
  • Features like self-correcting systems,data driven decision-making are needed for ensuring 24*7 availability which is important for industry.


  • India’s aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses are very high ,leading to shortage of power at the consumer level.
  • Low tariffs and cross subsidisation result in a wide gap between the average per-unit cost of supply (ACS) and average revenue realised (ARR).

Initiatives by government for improving Access :

  •  KUSUM scheme: The scheme intends to promote the use of solar pumps for agriculture and provides a suitable alternative to the power subsidy model in agriculture.
  • Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya scheme):It aims to provide last-mile connectivity and power connections to all the unelectrified households in India
  • Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY): The rural electrification scheme provides for (a) separation of agriculture and non-agriculture feeders; (b) strengthening and augmentation of sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure in rural areas 

Way Forward: 

  • India should utilise advancements like smart metering ,predictive maintenance , for ensuring 24/7  electricity supply to every house hold.

Controlled reentry experiment of MT1 Satellite

In News

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully carried out the controlled re-entry experiment for the decommissioned Megha-Tropiques-1 (MT-1) satellite.

What is the Reentry of Satellites?

  • Due to the increasing number of objects in space (Space Debris), the international aerospace community has adopted guidelines and assessment procedures to reduce the number of non-operational spacecraft and spent rocket upper stages orbiting the Earth. 
  • One method of post mission disposal is to allow the reentry of these spacecraft, either from natural orbital decay (uncontrolled) or controlled entry.

Methods of doing it

  • Orbital decay or uncontrolled: One way to accelerate orbital decay is to lower the perigee altitude so that atmospheric drag will cause the spacecraft to enter the Earth’s atmosphere more rapidly. However, in such cases the surviving debris impact footprint cannot be guaranteed to avoid inhabited landmasses. 
  • Controlled entry normally is achieved by using more propellant with a larger propulsion system to cause the spacecraft to enter the atmosphere at a steeper flight path angle. The vehicle will then enter the atmosphere at a more precise latitude and longitude, and the debris footprint can be positioned over an uninhabited region, generally located in the ocean.
What is Space Debris? Space debris encompasses both natural meteoroid and artificial (human-made) orbital debris. Meteoroids are in orbit about the sun, while most artificial debris is in orbit about the Earth (hence the term “orbital” debris).Orbital debris is any human-made object in orbit about the Earth that no longer serves a useful function. Such debris includes nonfunctional spacecraft, abandoned launch vehicle stages, mission-related debris, and fragmentation debris.ThreatsEven tiny paint flecks can damage a spacecraft when traveling at these velocities. In fact, millimeter-sized orbital debris represents the highest mission-ending risk to most robotic spacecraft operating in low Earth orbit.In 1996, a French satellite was hit and damaged by debris from a French rocket that had exploded a decade earlier.On Feb. 10, 2009, a defunct Russian spacecraft collided with and destroyed a functioning U.S. Iridium commercial spacecraft. The collision added more than 2,300 pieces of large, trackable debris and many more smaller debris to the inventory of space junk.China’s 2007 anti-satellite test, which used a missile to destroy an old weather satellite, added more than 3,500 pieces of large, trackable debris and many more smaller debris to the debris problem.

How ISRO did it?

  • The MT1 satellite was launched in 2011 and since August 2022, the satellite’s perigee was progressively lowered through a series of 20 manoeuvres.
  • The final two de-boost burns were executed on 7th March 2023, the final perigee was estimated to be less than 80 km indicating that the satellite would enter the denser layers of the Earth’s atmosphere and subsequently undergo structural disintegration. 
  • From the latest telemetry, it is confirmed that the satellite has re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and would have disintegrated over the Pacific Ocean, the Mission Operations Complex in ISTRAC (ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network).

Way Ahead

  • In recent years, ISRO has taken up proactive measures to improve the compliance level with the internationally accepted guidelines on space debris mitigation. 
  • Efforts are underway to build indigenous capabilities for tracking and monitoring space objects to safeguard Indian space assets. 
  • ISRO System for Safe and Sustainable Space Operations Management (IS4OM) has been established to spearhead such activities. 
  • The controlled reentry exercise bears yet another testimony to India’s continued efforts towards ensuring the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.

Importance of maintaining a “constant vigil” on Indian Borders

In News

  • The Ministry of Defence emphasizes the need to maintain constant vigil on northern and western borders, coastline.


  • At the Naval Commanders Conference aboard INS Vikrant, Indian defence minister stressed the need to re-strategise due to the constantly evolving world order.
  • The meeting emphasized that future conflicts will be unpredictable and that constant vigilance on the northern and western borders and entire coastline is necessary.
  • The defence sector is expected to transform India’s economy, and orders worth over USD 100 billion are expected to be placed through the defence sector in the next 5-10 years.

Importance of border vigilance

  • National security: India shares borders with several countries, some of which have a history of hostile relations.
    • Constant vigilance in these areas helps to ensure national security and prevent any security threats.
  • Preventing illegal activities: Border and coastline areas are often used for illegal activities such as smuggling, human trafficking, and drug trafficking.
    • Vigilance helps to prevent such illegal activities and ensure the safety and security of citizens.
  • Protecting sovereignty: Borders and coastline areas are the first line of defense for the country, and maintaining vigilance helps to protect India’s sovereignty.
  • Economic growth: India’s ports and coastal areas are important for economic growth and development, and vigilance helps to ensure the safety and security of these areas.
  • Disaster management: Natural disasters such as cyclones and tsunamis can cause widespread damage and loss of life in coastal areas.
    • Vigilance helps to ensure timely evacuation and disaster management in such situations.

Challenges of border vigilance:

  • Geographic barriers: The northern and western borders of India are characterized by difficult terrain such as mountains, deserts, and forests, which makes it challenging to maintain constant vigilance.
  • Infiltration attempts: The borders are porous, making them vulnerable to infiltration attempts by terrorists, smugglers, and other illegal activities.
  • Lack of infrastructure: The lack of infrastructure in remote border areas makes it challenging to monitor and secure the borders effectively.
  • Climate and weather conditions: Harsh climate and weather conditions, such as extreme temperatures, heavy rains, and snowfall, pose challenges to border and coastline surveillance.
  • Coordination with multiple agencies: Vigilance in border and coastline areas requires coordination between multiple agencies, including the military, paramilitary forces, and local law enforcement agencies.
  • Technology and equipment: The deployment of modern technology and equipment, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, radars, and sensors, is necessary for effective border and coastline surveillance. 

Government steps to secure Indian borders:

  • Strengthening border infrastructure: The government has allocated significant funds for the construction of roads, border outposts, and fencing along the border helping in improving the mobility of security forces and better surveillance.
  • Use of modern technology: The government has deployed modern technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles, radars, and sensors for effective surveillance along the border.
  • Strengthening border forces: The government has increased the strength of border forces such as the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and provided them with better equipment and training.
  • Smart fencing: The government is also working on the development of smart fencing along the border, which will have a network of surveillance devices to detect any intrusions.
  • Cross-border connectivity: The government is also focusing on improving cross-border connectivity through road, rail, and air networks to improve the security of the border regions.
  • Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS): CIBMS is a high-tech surveillance system that uses modern technology such as thermal imagers, underground sensors, and laser barriers to secure the border.
  • Border Area Development Programme (BADP): This scheme aims to promote the development of the border areas by providing basic infrastructure such as roads, schools, health centers, and promoting economic activities.
  • Scheme for Protection and Empowerment of Women in Border Areas (SPARSH): It aims to provide education and vocational training to women in border areas and to empower them to become self-reliant.
  • Coastal Security Scheme: It aims to enhance the surveillance capabilities of coastal states and Union Territories to prevent any threats from the sea.

Way ahead

  • Overall, these schemes and initiatives are aimed at securing the borders of India, promoting the development of border areas, and providing assistance to the families of security personnel.
  • Overall, these steps are aimed at strengthening border security and ensuring effective vigilance along the border areas to prevent any security threats.
  • Overall, vigilance in border and coastline areas is crucial for maintaining national security, preventing illegal activities, protecting sovereignty, promoting economic growth, and ensuring effective disaster management.

 Source: TH

Govt brings crypto trading under India’s money laundering laws

In Context

  • The government has recently imposed money laundering provisions on cryptocurrencies.


  • The Finance Ministry said the anti-money laundering legislation has been applied to crypto trading, safekeeping and related financial services.
  • The notification said,
    • Exchange between virtual digital assets and fiat currencies
    • Exchange between one or more forms of virtual digital assets, 
    • Transfer of virtual digital assets, safekeeping or administration of virtual digital assets or instruments enabling control over virtual digital assets, and participation in and 
    • Provision of financial services related to an issuer’s offer and sale of a virtual digital asset”
  • All of the above will now be covered by the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002.
  • Virtual digital assets: Virtual digital assets were defined as any code or number or token generated through cryptographic means with the promise or representation of having inherent value.
  • Role of FIU-IND: After this, Indian crypto exchanges will have to report suspicious activity to the Financial Intelligence Unit India (FIU-IND).


  • In line with the global trend: The move is in line with the global trend of requiring digital-asset platforms to follow anti-money laundering standards similar to those followed by other regulated entities like banks or stock brokers.
  • Filling the policy vacuum: Digital currency and assets like NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have gained traction globally over the last couple of years.
    • Trading in these assets has increased manifold with cryptocurrency exchanges being launched. 
    • However, India, till last year, did not have a clear policy on either regulating or taxing such asset classes.

What is Cryptocurrency?

  •  It is a digital currency that can be used in place of conventional money.
    • In cryptocurrencies, cryptography is used to secure and verify transactions. It is also used to control the supply of cryptocurrencies.
    • It is supported by a decentralized peer-to-peer network called the blockchain.
    • The first cryptocurrency: Bitcoin, was launched in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto.

Features of Cryptocurrency

  • Cheaper to transfer: 
    • Some coins are used to transfer value (measured in a currency like dollars) cheaper and faster than using credit or conventional means. 
    • Meaning the cost to send someone crypto, which can be converted into regular currency, is cheaper than something like a check or wire transfer.
  • No physical form:
    • Cryptocurrency does not exist in physical form (like paper money) and is typically not issued by a central authority. 
    • However, it can be and many governments are working to create a crypto coin version of its respective fiat currency.
  • Decentralised:
    • Cryptocurrencies typically use decentralized control as opposed to a central bank digital currency. 
    • When created with decentralized control, each cryptocurrency works through what is called distributed ledger technology, which is typically a blockchain, that serves as a public financial transaction database.


  • While the supposed potential benefits from crypto assets have yet to materialize, significant risks have emerged. 
  • Undermining the monetary policy & international monetary system: The widespread adoption of crypto assets could undermine the effectiveness of monetary policy, circumvent capital flow management measures, and exacerbate fiscal risks.
    • Widespread adoption could also have significant implications for the international monetary system in the longer term.
  • Security Risks: Cyberattacks on wallets, exchange mechanism (Cryptojacking).
    • They are prone to issues like Hijacking, Routing Attacks, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Shield to Crime: Used for illicit trading, criminal activities and organised crimes. 
  • Lack of Liquidity and Lower Acceptability: Outside the traditional banking systems.
  • Price Volatility: Prone to price fluctuations and waste of computing power.
  • Threat to the Indian rupee: If a large number of investors invest in digital coins rather than rupee-based savings like provident funds, the demand of the latter will fall.
  • Consumer protection and enforcement: Due to the decentralised nature of digital instruments of bitcoins, any regulatory regime over crypto assets is challenging.
    • There is a great likelihood of execution of unauthorised trades not in consonance with any regulatory framework.

Indian Government’s stand on Cryptocurrency

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has long recommended a complete ban on all crypto, warning that it has the potential to destabilize the country’s monetary and fiscal stability.
  • Despite having no regulatory framework for crypto, the Indian government had introduced a new tax regime last year, taxing crypto income at 30% and a 1% tax deducted at source (TDS) on crypto transactions.
Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002 About:It was enacted in January 2003 and the Act along with the Rules framed thereunder has come into force with effect from 1st July 2005. The Parliament enacted the PMLA as a result of international commitment to sternly deal with the menace of money laundering of proceeds of a crime having transnational consequences and on the financial systems of the countries.Objectives:The PML Act seeks to combat money laundering in India and has three main objectives:To prevent and control money launderingTo confiscate and seize the property obtained from the laundered money; andTo deal with any other issue connected with money laundering in India.The Act also proposes punishment under section 4.Definition of money laundering:Sec. 3 of PMLA defines offence of money laundering as whosoever directly or indirectly attempts to indulge or knowingly assists or knowingly is a party or is actually involved in any process or activity connected with the proceeds of crime and projecting it as untainted property shall be guilty of offence of money-laundering.

Source: TH

Jan Aushadhi Diwas

In Context

  • On the occasion of ‘5th Jan Aushadhi Diwas‘, the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare also inaugurated ‘NaMo Day Care Centre’ and flagged off four NaMo Mobile Healthcare Units.


  • The Department of Pharmaceuticals is celebrating Jan Aushadhi Diwas from March 1 to March 7, 2023, to create awareness about the Jan Aushadhi Scheme.
  • It is observed to generate awareness about the usage of generic medicines and the benefits of Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana and its salient features and achievements.
  • Jan Aushadhi Mitra’  publicize the benefits of Jan Aushadhi Kendras for betterment of the people.

Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)

  • It  was launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Government of India in November, 2008. 
  • As on 31st January, 2023, the numbers of stores have increased to 9082. 
  • Under the PMBJP,743 districts out of 764 districts of the country have been covered.
  • This scheme ensures easy reach of affordable medicine to the people in every nook and corner of the country. 
  • The Government has set a target to increase the number of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras (PMBJKs) to 10,000 by the end of December,2023. 
  • Product basket of PMBJP comprises 1,759 drugs and 280 surgical instruments. 
  • Further, new medicines and nutraceuticals products like protein powder, malt-based food supplements, protein bar, immunity bar, sanitizer, masks, glucometer, oximeter, etc. have been also launched.

National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)

In News

  • Recently, the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General has pulled up the National Assessment and Accreditation Council for discrepancies in its assessment processes.

About NAAC

  • The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) was established in 1994 as an autonomous institution of the University Grants Commission (UGC) with its HeadQuarter in Bengaluru.
    • University Grants Commission is a statutory body set up by the Department of Higher Education, in accordance with the UGC Act 1956 and is charged with the coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of higher education in India.
  • The mandate of NAAC as reflected in its vision statement is in making quality assurance an integral part of the functioning of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
  • It assesses and certifies Higher Education Institution’s (HEIs) with gradings ranging  from A++ to C.
  • It accredits a higher educational institution through a multi-layered process whether it meets the standards of quality set by the evaluator in terms of curriculum, faculty, infrastructure, research, and other parameters.

Accreditation Process

  • The accreditation  process starts with the institute  approaching the NAAC for assessment . 
  • The applicant has to submit a self-study report (SSR) containing information related to quantitative and qualitative metrics.
  • The data is then validated by expert teams of the NAAC, followed by spot visits by peer teams comprising assessors drawn from universities across India.


  • In 2019, the UGC launched a scheme named ‘Paramarsh’. Under the scheme, some of the best-performing institutes were identified to serve as mentors to at least five institutes aspiring to get accredited. 
  • The NAAC also explored the possibility of issuing Provisional Accreditation for Colleges (PAC), under which one-year-old institutes could apply for accreditation that would be valid for two years. 
  • The National Education Policy (2020) has set an ambitious target of getting all higher educational institutes to obtain the highest level of accreditation over the next 15 years.
India’s Higher Educational SystemIndia’s higher education system is the world’s third-largest in terms of students, next to China and the United States  with around 38 million students in 50,000 academic institutions (including 1,057 universities).Despite having the largest base of 900-plus universities in the world, only 15 higher education institutions from India are in the top 1,000. Although 75 percent of higher education is in the private sector, the best institutions — IITs, IIMs, NITs, AIIMS, NLS — have all been set up by the government.India is the 2nd largest source of international students (after China) globally.It has a goal of doubling gross enrolment rates from the current 26.3% to 50% by 2035.

First IAF woman officer to command frontline Unit

In News

  • Shaliza Dhami has become the first woman officer in the Indian Air Force to command a front line combat unit and will command a missile squadron in the Western sector.


  • Missile squadron is equipped with systems capable of defeating airborne threats, including fighter jets, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, flying at low to high altitudes.

Women in Command

  • Women are largely administrative appointments unlike the regular arms and services where Colonels command officers and men and lead them from the front. A Commanding Officer (CO) is a very coveted position in the Army and therein lies its significance in it being opened up for women.
  • The latest development also comes two months after the army deployed a woman officer, Captain Shiva Chouhan, on the Siachen glacier for the first time and weeks after the Indian Army selected 108 women officers for promotion from Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel. 
  • More frontiers have been opened for women in the military in the last seven to eight years than the two preceding decades. Gender barriers have been knocked down across the three services.
  • One of the turning points for women in the military came in 2015 when the IAF decided to induct them into the fighter stream for the first time. 
  • Women are not just flying fighter jets, they are flying the latest transport planes such as the C-17s and C-130Js, eligible for permanent commission, assuming command roles, serving in extreme high-altitude areas, undergoing training at the National Defence Academy, and being inducted in the personnel below officer cadre (PBOR).
  • Women are soon expected to be serving aboard submarines. However, tanks and combat positions in infantry are still no-go zones for women.
Indian Air Force (IAF)The Indian Air Force is headquartered in New Delhi. For effective command and control, the IAF has seven commands, under which there are different stations and units located at various places throughout the country.CommandsIt is divided into five operational and two functional commands. Each Command is headed by an Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief with the rank of Air Marshal. Purpose: The purpose of an operational command is to conduct military operations using aircraft within its area of responsibility, whereas the responsibility of functional commands is to maintain combat readiness. WingsA wing is a formation intermediate between a command and a squadron. It generally consists of two or three IAF squadrons and helicopter units, along with forward base support units (FBSU). FBSUs do not have or host any squadrons or helicopter units but act as transit air bases for routine operations. In times of war, they can become fully fledged air bases playing host to various squadrons.Squadrons and unitsSquadrons are the field units and formations attached to static locations. Thus, a flying squadron or unit is a subunit of an air force station which carries out the primary task of the IAF. A fighter squadron consists of 18 aircraft; all fighter squadrons are headed by a commanding officer with the rank of wing commander.


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