Suresh Prabhu to replace Gajapathi Raju, take charge as Aviation Minister

Only a couple of days after completing six months as Minister for Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu has now been given additional charge of the Civil Aviation ministry.

"As advised by the Prime Minister, #PresidentKovind has directed that Shri Suresh Prabhu, Cabinet Minister, shall be assigned charge of the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, in addition to his existing portfolio", President Ram Nath Kovinds office tweeted on Saturday.

The recent turn of events stems from Andhra Pradesh's ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP), led by N Chandrababu Naidu, on Thursday, pulling out of the Narendra Modi government with two of its minister in the Union Cabinet tendering their resignations. This included Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju. The other was Y S Chowdary, who was Minister of State for Science and Technology & Earth Sciences.

Persons in the know confirmed to Business Standard that he indeed will be taking up charge soon but also cautiously suggested that the new role may not be for a long duration as both ministries require enormous attention and are dealing with a significant number of issues right now.

In his current ministry, this boils down to the fight to pull in investments in the last leg of the government's tenure for the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). For the Commerce Department, achieving significant momentum in multilateral trade negotiations — currently bogged down in a series of protectionism by nations and the Trump administrations threat on raising tariffs — remains a prime goal. Case in point, India has invited trade ministers of over 50 nations including the US, China and Pakistan to discuss key issues related to areas like agriculture and services.

In the Civil Aviation Ministry, Prabhu would have to successfully navigate through the maze of selling of the national Carrier Air India.

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