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Jyotiraditya Scindia braves criticism with figures, ‘more women pilots in India than anywhere in world’

Scindia says civil aviation is key to India’s economy after the Opposition casts doubt on need for a separate civil aviation ministry.

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New Delhi: India trumps the world in another area of women empowerment, Parliament was told on Wednesday.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said women pilots in India were over 15 percent of the total force. “In all other countries in the world, only 5 percent of pilots are women,” he told the House.

Scindia’s department is in some jeopardy as the Opposition have questioned the need for a civil aviation ministry after the privatisation of national carrier Air India.

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra had told Parliament on Tuesday that no other country in the world, apart from India and Bangladesh, had a separate and independent ministry for civil aviation. Moitra pointed out Air India formed 60 to 95 percent of the civil aviation ministry’s budget since 2014.

She demanded that the ministry – with a “paltry budget of Rs 1,240 crore” — be merged to create a “holistic ministry for transport”.

Not to be daunted by uncertainty, Scindia described before Parliament the progress his ministry has made. “Civil aviation has become a key element of India’s economy,” he said Wednesday, adding, “Earlier, only big cities had airports, today that has changed completely.”

Scindia said the aviation industry has seen major changes in the last 20 to 25 years. “The amount of employment generated in the industry is massive,” he said.

The aviation sector has looked up since late last year when full domestic flight operations began from October, 2021. The ministry has now allowed scheduled international flights to start from March 27, 2022.

Tuesday night, the ministry relaxed Covid regulations in aircraft. It said cabin crew members no longer need to wear PPE kits and security officials could start pat-down searches of passengers.

The relaxation was to facilitate the “smooth conduct of air operations”, the ministry’s order stated.

Also read: Financial products need women-centered design. It’s about breaking prejudice


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