Government will table a bill in the upcoming budget session to replace the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) by a new aviation regulatory body — the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) — which will have full operational and financial autonomy.
“We are preparing a cabinet note on creating the CAA. We have sent a draft of the proposal to the law ministry. We hope we will be able to table the bill in the second half of this budget session itself,” aviation minister Ajit Singh said.
The CAA, Singh said, will be self-financing. “It will have a separate fund that would finance its entire expenses. In addition, this fund will also get budgetary support.” The estimated cost of the CAA would be around R112 crore. Asked how much fee will a passenger pay, Singh said it would “not be a noticeable amount ... just Rs. 5 per ticket.... as the number of passengers grows, the burden on them will come down.”
DGCA, an attached office of the aviation ministry, is the safety regulator at present. One of the reasons behind the creation of an independent CAA is the shortage of trained human resource because of DGCA’s inability to recruit and retain adequate manpower due to procedural and structural problems being a government department. Against the sanctioned strength of 597 Group A technical officers, only 131 posts are filled.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation had also suggested for converting the DGCA into an independent CAA.
“CAA will be empowered to create posts including that of specialists, determine salary and allowances and appoint consultants,” an official said.