Thursday, July 7, 2016

-        An Indian Perspective

If we look down the memory lane, 70 years or so, the aviation was synonym to Air Force. The Indian Air Force took time in coming out of the legacy and clutches of Royal Air Force because even after independence till the year 1952 we had a Britisher as Commander-in-Chief, Indian Air Force. It was indeed matter of great honour that Indians were still pioneer though as member of Royal Air Force. We may recall India’s first squadron Commanded by Air Marshal S.N. Goyal, when it was named “tigers” in remembrance to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, initiatives towards freedom struggle.

It all started by the solo flying by JRD Tata when we could name Juhu as Airport. Those were the days when Air India was in existence as a private commercial carrier. Its’ growth could have been manifold but somehow it could not remain a private affair and Air India got its wings from the Government as National Carrier. There had been developments in Air Force year-after-year as the youngest brother of Armed Forces, numbers of records were set and expansion remained as unending process.

If I talk about the latest for the Indian Air Force, a proposal for acquiring 200 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) in phased manner is going to be on cards. Our pilots set records year-after-year. Wing Commander Anil Kumar and Rahul Monga manoeuvred a micro light aircraft around the globe in a record time of 80 days with a brief stop over at Karachi on the last leg of their journey. The duo flew over 19 countries and covered 40497 kms. before landing at the air force station Hindon on 19th August 2007.

This column can not afford to miss the progress made in the field of Civil Aviation. The Airports in the country were managed by Civil Aviation Deptt. and Central Public Works Deptts. of Government of India. We had very few Airports for civil aviation, which were catering the domestic requirements. Air Journey was confined to elite group of society. Foreign travel used to be a dream. It all came with the initiative taken by Dr. Karan Singh as Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism by constituting a committee headed by JRD Tata to examine the feasibility and give recommendation for having international Airports in the country, meeting the requirements of International Civil Aviation Organization, Montreal. JRD Tata, we all know as father of Civil Aviation. The Tata Committee report was accepted by the Government and it was the beginning of bright future of Civil Aviation in the country. Four International Airports, i.e. Bombay, Delhi, Culcutta and Madras, were born in 1972 managed by an autonomous body called International Airports Authority of India under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The Civil Aviation never looked back and the rest of the domestic airports, which were managed by the Government, also came under the purview of National Airports Authority, which came into existence in the year 1985. It never ended there. The year 1995 witnessed another historical event in the form of merger of these two organizations by single body Airports Authority of India

Coming back to the growth of Civil Aviation in the country till early 90s, it was all in the hands of National carriers i.e. Air India and Indian Airlines, we have witnessed long queues at Bombay and Delhi Airports what to say about Calcutta and Madras Airports. At that time, it was going well keeping in view of the limited passenger movement. The fares were very high and 95% air travellers were flying at the cost of others meaning thereby business travellers or some people going on emergency. The mid 90s came with fortunate movement of Open Sky Policy. We saw number of new private airlines on Indian horizon, East West Airlines, Intercontinental, Damania Airways, Jet Air, Modi-Luft, Air Asiatic, Raj Air and so on, may be with two or three aircrafts. The growth of private sector in the aviation sector was unbelievable as it was not anticipated. Nobody thought such a voluminous growth of passenger traffic. It will become a lengthy column if, I go on telling the things in micro level therefore, I need to stop here. Thanks to print and media educating you about the latest happenings, which are going to witness sea change in aviation industry in years to come. The speculations are that by the year 2020 our country is going to have name in the Aviation Sector of the world, beating many developed countries.

Today, it is quite a pleasant surprise to see that a lower middle class person with his family travelling by air, it is no more a dream. If we go as per newspaper reports and the talks going on, each state of the country may have airports not one but in large number to provide connectivity. It was an encouraging talk by Capt. Gopinath of Deccan Air when he talked about low cost Airports much ahead to his beginning as low cost Airline. Well, one can imagine Airport with no conveyor belts, buses and air conditioned building, reducing the cost. See a passenger coming out of the Aircraft carrying his own luggage and taking a public transport for going to the city with no trolleys drinking water, visitor chairs, announcement system, CCTV, etc., etc. what you generally see at any Airport. We should not get surprise because a decade ago we never thought of an air journey without food, air hostesses or proper ticket with number of leaflets.

Civil aviation is going to come a long way as public utility service affordable to a common man. You may find regional airlines in future where the operation will be within the region. It will be a boom to the states which are not having proper road and train connectivity. The travel may be cost effective in view of small aircrafts such as ATRs and small Airports with bare minimum facilities.  There is no dearth of business houses who may be inclined to enter in aviation sector. Today, if I start counting the private players it goes on to name Jet Air, Kingfisher, Spice Jet, Deccan Air, MDLR, Go Air, Indigo Airline, Paramount, Archana Airways, Jackson, Air Sahara, and so on. We never thought of this expansion a decade ago. A stage has come where the normal citizen is having a choice to travel by Air or by Train. IT sector has played an important role in reducing the passenger cost by way of e-ticketing and on-line check-in etc.

This column has been written by me as a man amongst you, who is a passenger, Indian citizen and a visionary with great optimism towards progress of our nation in all evocation. The day is not far when India will be on the map of developed countries. The progress in the information technology sector has already ignited the engine in this direction. The civil aviation industry may follow soon. 

It all looks so good, the aircrafts representing different airlines of India landing across the world at different airports giving name to our country. It makes our presence on the globe, we are no more a small country.

                             Brief profile of Prof. (Dr.) Dewakar Goel
Prof. (Dr.) Dewakar Goel is a Science & Law Graduate with Masters in Business Administration.  Having specialized in Labour Laws from Indian Law Institute, he did his Post Graduate Diploma in Personnel Management & Industrial Relations and also in Training & Development from ISTD.  A Ph.D. in Management under guidance of Prof. (Dr.) Sadhan Das Gupta, Calcutta University. He acquired INDIA -ICAO Fellowship in the year 2010. 

In the beginning of the career, he practiced as Advocate at Delhi High Court.    Dr. Goel has authored 12 books which includes books on Management and Law published by eminent publishers. His books have been translated into Bangla, Tamil, Urdu and other languages.

Having served in the private sector for over seven years as a hard core HR Professional dealing with Personnel & Administration.  He topped in the merit list for selection at managerial position in the government sector and stepped up in the   ladder of hierarchy while serving in Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and Chennai. He rose to the level of HR head during last one decade in the most prestigious schedule “A” PSE.

            Dr. Goel is Doctoral Research Supervisor in Business Management, Banasthali
University and also Advisory Board Member, Centre for Financial Planning Training
& Research for Women, Banasthali University, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
American University of India, Kodaikanal and Pondicherry University. He is also
Research examiner for Indian institute of public administration and other reputed universities.
Adding feathers to his cap, he is HR Consultant with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Montreal, Canada and Human Performance Technologist of International Air Transport Association (IATA) Geneva, Switzerland.  He is a Visiting Faculty and Advisor of highly regarded Management Institutes in India and abroad.  He has addressed large number of National & International Conferences as Chairperson and Key Note Speaker.  

As multi-faceted personality, he has been profiled by print & media in newspapers and TV channels for his poems, stories, articles and research papers are published in national & international journals.

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