Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Exclusive! Civil Aviation Draft- 15 years and still in the making!

Neelam Mathews
March 27, 2013
The saga of the elusive Civil Aviation Policy Draft  posted on the MoCA website for what seems decades, doesn’t say much for our planners and decision makers. Time the industry raised its voice as the loss will only be its own. We might remind ourselves that unless the draft becomes a policy, it will remain adhoc and victim to sudden unpalatable whims and fancies of those in power. Besides, investors might see this as a deterrent. But then, that’s our view at Aerospace Diary.
Even as minister Ajit Singh remained non-committal on when the draft civil aviation policy would be approved, a quick search into the history of this elusive draft is disturbing and shows there is no will nor any need by the government to put a method into the madness.

April 1, 1997-The civil aviation policy was cleared by the Cabinet during PM Deve Gowda’s time. Was it a coincidence that it was April Fool’s Day!?

June 6, 1997- Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral will soon carry out a Cabinet reshuffle…and shift the high-profile Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Chand Mahal Ibrahim (who had opposed the Tata-SIA proposal) to a less important ministry... Gujral told a joint Indo-Nepal business conference that India cannot keep pace with globalisation as long as the country does not have an open skies policy. (Exp)
So we come full circle now!

June 27, 1997- Mahajan -- who has spoken out against the Tata-Singapore Airlines proposal - has warned that the new draft civil aviation policy would sound the death knell for national carriers Air-India and Indian Airlines. (Rediff)

June 29, 1997- The CPM came out strongly against tampering with the aviation policy by the Gujral government which had earlier been adopted during the tenure of H.D. Deve Gowda as Prime Minister in April. (Express)

Nov 8, 1999- Union minister for civil aviation Sharad Yadav plans a new civil aviation policy before the Union cabinet within the next three weeks."I have held several rounds of discussions on drafting a civil aviation policy….the minister told The Financial Express .

Jan 18, 2000-Draft aviation policy lays stress on pvt investment (Hindu)

Jan 4, 2002- The draft civil aviation policy has proposed to compensate domestic carriers for their flights on economically-unviable social routes through the creation of an aviation fund. It also intends to scrap the present practice of mandatory linking of some uneconomical routes while allotting commercially-viable circuits to airlines…(TOI)
June 09, 2006- Praful Patel says draft ready and could be taken up by the Union Cabinet for approval in June itself.

May 30, 2007-  The Cabinet is scheduled to unveil the new civil aviation policy …..
Feb 25, 2009- Coming down heavily on the Civil Aviation Ministry for its "failure" to finalise a national policy, a parliamentary committee today said such a "lackadaisical" approach was responsible for "haphazard" growth in the sector. (Outlook)
2010- At a conference in Mumbai, Patel, when asked by journalists about the draft civil aviation policy, retorted; ‘Why do you need a civil aviation policy? We have cleared most issues.”

Dec 15, 2011- The government will soon bring out a new aviation policy.. (TOI)

Feb 22, 2012- Civil aviation ministry postpones deadline for policy inputs after activists letter (Sunday Guardian)

Feb 10, 2013- The Civil Aviation Ministry has finalized a draft policy under which …. (BS)

March 26, 2013- Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh says draft civil aviation policy ready but refuses to give deadline on clearance. Instead, retracts with query: "Do you believe in a deadline by the government?"

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