The President of India Ram Nath Kovind today assigned Suresh Prabhu, Cabinet Minister for Commerce & Industries to take charge of the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, in addition to his existing portfolio.

The announcement came on the heels of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Minister Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju sending his resignation from the Union Cabinet post. His party asked him to do so.

Confirming the development in a tweet, Kovind stated, “As advised by the Prime Minister, President Kovind 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.”

The President on Friday has directed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take care of the portfolio

The TDP minister decided to step down from his duties citing a discord between the Modi government and the Andhra Pradesh government over the grant of special status to the southern State by the Central government.

However, the party will continue to be part of the BJP-led coalition.

As per a report by India Brand Equity Foundation, India with a compound-annual-growth-rate (CAGR) of 17.1 percent is set to become third largest aviation market by 2020 and passenger traffic at Indian airports is expected to increase to 421 million from 223.61 million in 2016.

The other key areas include expanding the affordable regional flying scheme UDAN.

Last year, the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Modi also approved the principle stake sale of Air India, the state-owned national airline. The national air carrier is currently reeling heavy losses of around Rs 52,000 crore.

As per the other developments with national air carrier is concerned, Air India is expected to start a direct thrice-a-weekly flight from Delhi - Tel Aviv from March 22, 2018.

The announcement from Air India came after Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his to visit the US, revealed to reporters that The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has approved the flying of Indian carrier over its territory on its route from New Delhi to Tel Aviv.

The Civil Aviation Ministry is also working in the direction of making 100 airports functional either by constructing new ones or by improving the existing ones.

In his incumbent role, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu is confident that India will become a $5 trillion economy in the next seven years.