Give More Teeth to CAA: Parliament to Centre
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture has rejected the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Bill in the present form, saying the proposal for setting up a new aviation regulator lacks teeth in empowering the authority and asked the Centre to come out with a comprehensive Bill after revisiting the Aircraft Act, 1934.
The panel, headed by Sitaram Yechury, in its report recommended creation of such an authority but pointed out that the current provisions could not ensure the autonomy that is being sought to be given to the CAA. “We feel that the proposed Bill seeks to create an authority which simply will be as good as the existing Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) without much changes in its powers and authority; it would be simply changing the nomenclature from the DGCA to the CAA,” the panel observed.
The Union Cabinet had last year cleared the proposal to create a new aviation regulator with full operational and financial autonomy. It was proposed that the CAA would recruit its officers, including specialists, advisors and consultant, to carry out the functions of the authority. Once operational, the CAA would replace the DGCA and be responsible for issuing licenses, certificates, permits, approvals and any other legal document required for the safety of the civil aviation sector.
The panel said rather than bringing a standalone Bill, it will be better to come out with a comprehensive Bill after revisiting the Aircraft Act, 1934, which has been too old to tackle the emerging problems in the aviation sector, and incorporating the Civil Aviation Authority in it. It also noted that the Bill did not include regular safety aspects of helicopters and recommended that the provisions be more comprehensive and include all aspects pertaining to safety of helicopters also. “We feel that relevant provisions of the Bill require suitable amendment to remove possible duplication, overlapping and ambiguities,” the panel said.