New Delhi, March 11: Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu takes over as Civil Aviation Minister as Ashok Gajapati Raju quit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers. Suresh Prabhu was given an additional charge of the Civil Aviation Ministry on Saturday.
Ashok Gajapati Raju and fellow Telegu Desam Party (TDP) leader YS Chowdary had quit the Modi cabinet after their party chief announced his decision to leave the National Democratic Alliance government over their demand that Andhra Pradesh be given a Special Category Status. The TDP, however, has not quit the NDA entirely.
Meanwhile, Ashok Gajapati Raju tweeted saying that the Indian domestic aviation market became the third largest in the world, from ninth position in 2014. “I will always cherish my stint in the aviation sector. May India continue to fly high!” he said on Twitter.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan confirmed that Prabhu has been given the additional charge of the aviation portfolio. “As advised by the Prime Minister, President Kovind has directed that Suresh Prabhu, Cabinet Minister, shall be assigned charge of the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, in addition to his existing portfolio,” stated the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The communiqué suggested that Prabhu’s appointment as Civil Aviation Minister was not interim. As Civil Aviation Minister, Prabhu’s most pressing concern will be the disinvestment of national carrier Air India.
Suresh Prabhu has previously served as the Railways Minister. He was reassigned to the Commerce Ministry during last year’s Cabinet reshuffle. Prabhu’s reassignment followed a number of high-profile accidents on the Indian Railways.