Air India, the struggling national airline, seems to have gotten another boost when IAS officer Pradeep Singh Kharola assumed charge as Chairman and Managing Director. A Karnataka cadre officer, Kharola replaces Rajiv Bansal, who had served as interim CMD for a little over three months.
The authorities are finalising the privatisation of the airline, and a parliamentary panel convened on Monday saw conflicting opinions among members vis-a-vis the privatisation.
Pradeep Singh Kharola no doubt joins the airline at a crucial time, and his immediate and future course of actions will have a direct impact on its prosperity.
Meanwhile, here are five facts about Air India’s new Chairman and Managing Director.
Hailing from Dehradun, he was born on September 15th, 1961, and is a 1985 batch Karnataka cadre Indian Administrative Services officer.
He was Managing Director of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), and the Managing Director of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSTRC). During his tenure, air-conditioned buses first hit Indian roads. In fact, a Business Today article credited him with turning a loss-making BMTC profitable.
The above roles probably led him to publish an article in Economic and Political Weekly, titled “Urban Public Transport Systems: Are the Taxation Policies Congenial for Their Survival and Growth?”, to analyse the different levies on the operation of buses in a city, and compare them to different states in India.
He held the post of the Chairman of the Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation in 2013.
He rose to the height of his career during Bengaluru’s ‘Silicon Valley’ boom and played a major role in kick-starting the Bengaluru Metro, pulling the project through, despite difficult issues like the city’s rocky terrain.
Pradeep Singh Kharola’s formalities, relieving him from his current position in the Karnataka Government were completed, and he is preparing for his role in Air India. Let us hope he succeeds in his endeavours!