A new win for Indian women! The country recently appointed its only second female Director General of Civil Aviation. M Sathiyavathi, an IAS officer has been appointed to the post of DGCA for three years and has succeeded Prabhat Kumar. The only other woman to have held this post was Prem Lal in the 1980s.
Sathiyavathy had previously been working as the Additional Secretary and Financial Advisor to the Civil Aviation Ministry. Prior to which, she served as Puducherry’s Chief Secretary. Many feel that the appointment of Sathiyavathi to the post, just a year after Prabhat Kumar was sworn in for three years, was due to the review report of the US regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The report downgraded Indian Aviation’s safety ranking to Category-II, with countries like Bangladesh, Barbados, Ghana and Nicaragua. Prior to Kumar’s appointment in February last year, India was ranked in Category-I till January 2014. He faced severe criticism in his handling of the SpiceJet issue where as DGCA he had imposed booking curbs on SpiceJet and cancelled the airline’s 186 slots. This order was later reversed by the Aviation Ministry.
Kapil Kaul of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation told Business Standard, “We need experts to head the DGCA and continuing with non-technical leadership is not feasible. There is a need for complete overhaul of the DGCA, as growth will seriously challenge the entire safety oversight framework.”
[Feature Picture Courtesy: CII]