New Delhi: Air India chief Pradeep Singh Kharola has been appointed Civil Aviation secretary, a year after he came on board the national carrier, as part of a minor top-level bureaucratic reshuffle effected on Wednesday, according to an official order.
Kharola, a 1985-batch IAS officer of the Karnataka cadre, was in November 2017 named the chairman and managing director of Air India Ltd. He took over the reins of the debt-ridden national carrier on January 9, last year.
It was under Kharola's tenure that the government last year came up with the proposal to sell off 76 per cent of its stake in Air India. However, the proposal was later put on hold due to unavailability of possible buyer.
The Air India has a debt of about Rs 55,000 crore. The government has started the process of restructuring the national carrier to help it reduce its debt.
Kharola has been appointed as the Civil Aviation Secretary in place of Rajiv Nayan Choubey, who superannuated on January 31.
Choubey, after his retirement, has been appointed as a member in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), that conducts civil services examination to select officers of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) among others.
The name of new Air India chief or a caretaker head was not announced by the government.
Also, senior bureaucrat Radheyshyam Julaniya has been appointed as Secretary, Department of Sports, in place of Rahul Prasad Bhatnagar.
Julaniya, a 1985-batch IAS officer, is serving in his cadre state Madhya Pradesh.
Bhatnagar, a 1983-batch IAS officer, will now be Secretary, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
Senior IAS officer Sailesh will be Secretary, the Minority Affairs Ministry.
Sailesh, a 1985-batch IAS offcer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, is at present Secretary, the Department of Official Language.
The officer will continue to hold the post of Secretary, Department of Official Language on additional charge basis, the Personnel Ministry said in the order.