Jyotiraditya Scindia has been appointed Civil Aviation Ministry, and Hardeep Puri, who headed this ministry, will head Urban Development and Petroleum Ministry. Mr Scindia joined the government today in a reboot of the Union cabinet in which 36 new ministers including these two joined the government and seven got promoted.
Born in 1971 and educated in Harvard and Stanford institutions, Mr Scindia has traversed a long way after contesting his first election as a Congress candidate in 2002, a by-election in Guna Lok Sabha constituency, which was held after his father and former Civil Aviation Minister Madhavrao Scindia died in a plane crash.
The private plane, a Beechcraft King Air C90, in which Madhavrao Scindia and seven others were flying, crashed on the outskirts of Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri district in September 2001, killing all of them.
Mr Scindia, 50, resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP in March 2020 and his move triggered a chain of events that finally culminated in the collapse of the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh just 15 months after its formation, paving the way for the BJP to take power in the state.
Mr Puri, the outgoing Civil Aviation Minister, headed the ministry at a tough time for the sector because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought the hospitality industry and travel sector to a grinding halt. Airlines are struggling to survive as flights have drastically reduced all over the world.
The Civil Aviation Ministry’s last monthly report published in May this year showed that passengers carried by domestic airlines from January to April this year were 291 lakh compared to 329 lakh during the same period last year – a fall by 11.65 per cent.
Mr Scindia takes control of the ministry, however, after the peak of the Covid second wave has passed and the country is relatively getting freer with lockdowns and travel eased up to some extent.