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The Aircraft Amendment Bill 2020
Union Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri during the Monsoon Session of the Parliament, the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020, was passed by Rajya Sabha on Tuesday through a voice vote. The Bill which had already been cleared by the Lok Sabha now awaits presidential assent to become law.
It seeks to amend the Aircraft Act, 1934 which regulates manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import, and export of civil aircraft, and licensing of aerodromes.
During the discussion, Congress RS MP KC Venugopal spoke about Adani group’s winning bids for six airports, “Adani Group has won bids to operate & develop 6 airports. There’s a clear violation of norms in giving airports to a single private entity. Govt ignored the advice of some of its own ministries & depts. Changes in norms enabled the Adani group to win all 6 bids”.
Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 – Key features
The Bill seeks to convert three aviation regulatory bodies under the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) –Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), and the Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau (AAIB) – into statutory bodies to be headed by Director General appointed by the Centre. DGCA will have safety oversight and regulatory functions as mentioned in the Bill. BCAS will carry out regulatory activities related to civil aviation security. AAIB will look into investigative activities for aircraft accidents. The central government can issue directions to these bodies with respect to their activities in the public interest.
- The statutory status of these bodies will help in improving India’s aviation safety rank as suggested by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
- The legislation also provides for keeping defense aircraft out of the purview of the Aircraft Act, 1934, and increases the penalties and fines for violations from current Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore.
- The Bill also empowers the central government to cancel the licenses, certificates, or approvals granted to a person if the person contravenes any provisions of the Act. The Bill exempts armed forces from aircrafts of the country.
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