Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju has renewed the efforts of the ministry to have an aviation ombudsman, a proposal which has been pending since 2011.
The minister’s office has forwarded a note to Civil Aviation Secretary V Somasundaram about the practice of appointment of ombudsman in some of the ministries and departments in the government and the possibility of having such an arrangement in the civil aviation sector.
The note said the institution of ombudsman is a major step forward in timely redressal of grievances and for bringing about better standards. Raju wants to check the viability of having having an ombudsman for the ministry, PSUs under the ministry, Air India, Airports Authority of India, Pawan Hans Ltd and DGCA.
Raju’s fresh efforts came after a series of delaying tactics on constituting an ombudsman when other sectors managed to set up watchdogs.
It was in the meeting of the Civil Aviation Economic Advisory Council held on January 18, 2011 when it was decided to “consider putting” in place an ombudsman in civil aviation sector. A Working Group for examining the feasibility of the proposal was constituted on April 18, 2011.
However, the move did not fructify as private airlines and other players in the sector lobbied against it.
The matter again came to the fore in December last year when the then Civil Aviation Secretary K N Srivastava informed the Committee on Violation of Protocol Norms and Contemptuous Behaviour of Government Officers of Lok Sabha that it was now deliberating in constituting an ombudsman for the sector.