India will replace its Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) with a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), according to Minister for Civil Aviation Ajit Singh.

He said the CAA would have greater financial and operational authority than the existing DGCA. Its main functions would be to regulate and better manage civil aviation safety through safety oversight of airlines, airports, air navigation services and providers of civil aviation services. It will also be responsible for licensing, environmental regulation and consumer protection.

The minister said that a bill creating the authority was likely to be introduced in the second part of the budget session of Parliament, which concludes in May. He said the CAA would be headed by a chairperson supported by a director general and between seven and nine members, all appointed by central government on the recommendation of a selection committee.

The CAA will be financially autonomous and financed from a separate fund—the Civil Aviation Authority of India Fund—but will also have the power to fix and collect fees to become self-funding. 

Singh said a shortage of adequately trained human resources was behind the proposal. He said the DGCA was tied by procedural and structural problems that made it difficult to recruit and retain adequate manpower. He pointed out that manpower had remained the same even though passenger traffic, cargo and aircraft movements had increased manifold.

“The DGCA is overloaded with increased work and under-staffed,” the ministry said in a statement. “It has limited delegation of financial powers and is incapable of making adequate structural changes to meet the demands of a dynamic civil aviation sector. This necessitates replacement of the DGCA with a CAA that will have more administrative and financial power to deal with the fast-changing domestic and global aviation scenario.”