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|Praful Manoharbhai Patel|
Praful Patel at the 2013 World Economic Forum annual meeting
|Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) for Maharashtra|
13th June 2014
|Vice President of AFC|
|President of All India Football Federation|
17 February 1957 |
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
|Political party||Nationalist Congress Party|
|Children||Avni, Niyati, Poorna and Prajay|
|Residence||Mumbai, Maharashtra, India|
|As of 8 May, 2008|
Praful Manoharbhai Patel (born in Kolkata, India on 17 February 1957) is an Indian politician and businessman. His father, Manoharbhai Patel, was an Indian National Congress leader and had been elected to represent Gondia district in Maharashtra. Patel graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Bombay and married Varsha Patel, a Gujarati businessman's daughter. His political career began in 1991 and he was appointed as the Civil Aviation Minister in 2004. His family runs the CeeJay group, a large tobacco conglomerate in India.
Patel followed in his father's footsteps by setting out on a political career. In 1985, he became the president of the Municipal Council, Gondia, (Maharashtra) and in 1991 Patel was elected to the 10th Lok Sabha. In 1996 and 1998 he was re-elected to the 11th Lok Sabha and 12th Lok Sabha respectively. Patel was a member of a number of committees within the Indian Government including: the Consultative Committee, Ministry of Environment and Forests (1991-1996), the Committee on Science and Technology (1994–1995), the Committee on Home Affairs (1995–1996), the Committee on Finance (1996–97), and the Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Civil Aviation before being elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2000.
In 2004, Patel became the Minister of State for Civil Aviation. He was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha for his second term in 2006 and in 2009 he was re-elected to the 15th Lok Sabha for a fourth term. On 19 January 2011, Patel became the Cabinet Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises and relieved of Civil Aviation Portfolio.  Praful Patel was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra in 2016.
In 2004, Patel was appointed Minister of Civil Aviation. Within months of taking charge, Patel convinced the government to hike the foreign direct investment cap in the domestic airlines sector from 40% to 49%. He also stressed the importance of the aviation sector's cargo carriers and their importance to the Indian economy. In 2004, India had 125 aircraft; however, after Patel became Minister of Civil Aviation the number increased to 400. On 18 January 2011, he was relived as Civil Aviation Minister and appointed as the Union Cabinet Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise in the same month. Patel has been under the cloud of suspicion for presiding over not just the unjustifiable merger of Air India and Indian airlines, but also the reduction in routes of Air India. The leak of the Radia tapes speak of him stripping the airline and awarding all Air India's profitable routes to Middle east airlines.
On 9 January 2013, Patel launched the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020, which is a roadmap for the progressive introduction and expansion of efficient and environmentally friendly electric and hybrid vehicles in the country. In July 2013, Patel launched The Indian Electrical Equipment Industry Mission Plan (IEEIMP) 2022 with the specific intention of ensuring that Indian manufacturers are able not only to fulfill India's requirements, but also to be major exporters of electrical equipment. Two important areas – the Auto Sector Skill Development Council and the Capital Goods Sector Skill Council - were also promoted. Apart from promoting electric and hybrid vehicles, Patel also aimed to create a green, clean and environmentally friendly corridor.
As the Minister of the Heavy Industries, Patel launched a project to build the world's largest solar power plant near Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan. The project will generate roughly 4000 MW of power which will almost quadruple India's solar power capacity.
Patel's efforts have been notable for the progress of the tribal community of Gondia and Bhandara. A Mega Agriculture and Fish Exhibition cum Technical Guidance Camp was held in December 2013, in Gondia and during this camp, Patel released a landmark postage stamp featuring Eklavya, a mentor of the anglers, Kahar Bhoi and Kevat community.
In addition, Patel was an integral part of the exchange of MOU for collaborative MBA and other courses between three Indian academic institutes and the International Centre for Promotion of Enterprises, Slovenia. The government regularly nominates government officers and public sector executives to attend the courses and programmes conducted by ICPE.
Patel inaugurated the Auto Hub in Nagpur, when the unit was in its initial stages. This is a centrally located city like Nagpur, from where cargo could be distributed all over the country faster because of its network of road, rail and air connections, which could also be developed into a hub for automobile sector. The land in the Butibori Industrial area is also well connected by road, rail and air network. Concessions and subsidy by state government will decide what materialises here.
The biggest turnaround was when India won the rights to host the FIFA Under 17 world Cup. This event spelt a change in fortune for India's football federation. New life was injected into the sport, which further ensured equal geographical distribution of football in India through the Grassroots Programme.
Patel has also placed a bid from India to host the FIFA World Club Championships. After the bidding session, Patel stated that he felt confident about India's chances of winning the rights to host the event.
Under Patel, the AIFF introduced the Indian Super League run by the Football Sports Development Pvt Ltd., it aims to ignite a revolution in Indian football at an international level. In April 2014, Patel announced of the eight franchise owners in the Indian Super League.
In addition, Patel also looks over the proceedings at Gondia Education Society, which educated more than one lakh students in several disciplines including law, engineering and the arts. His father, Manoharbhai Patel, laid the foundation of this educational institution in 1958.
Since 2012, Patel has been the President of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).Patel received the honour of being the uncontested Vice President of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) of the SAFF Region on 30 April 2015. The announcement was made at the AFC Congress held in Bahrain. According to him, Indian football is going through a transition and the developmental activities of the sport are finally getting noticed. He further said, "This is a huge responsibility. I would not only be representing my own Country but the entire SAFF Region. I stay confident of receiving support from all stakeholders for rapid progress of football in the region."
After a month of signing an agreement with the German Football Association (DFB), the AIFF President inked a tie up with the French Football Federation (FFF) in the city of Munich. Previously, an agreement with the Japan Football Association (JFA) was also signed by the Federation during February 2015.
As per the AIFF President Patel, “It is quite a privilege to step into an agreement with the French Football Federation”. The AIFF President has emphasized upon the intake of technical knowledge from the French counterpart. The general secretary of AIFF Kushal Das also graced the occasion.
As per the correspondence which has been signed, the two federations have taken the decision to support each other in terms of the mutual growth, promotion and continuous emphasis on the development of football in both the countries.
The exchange of officials and management, referees, coaches, technical experts and organizational activities were also recommended. Various other imperative aspects like sports centers and training camps were also discussed upon. Apart from this, the AIFF President also hinted upon a concrete preparation plan before the U-17 World Cup to be played in India. A number of preparatory matches in France with the active participation of the youth team have also been planned.
On April 20, 2016, in accordance with the signed MOU, AIFF President Praful Patel together with François Richier (Ambassador of France to India), and Denis Scheaffer (FC Metz Director) announced that three Indian Under-19 national team players, Anirudh Thapa, Prosenjit Chakraborty and Jerry Lalrinzuala, will be sent to France to train with a French Club Side FC Metz.
Under the presidentship of Praful Patel, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) brought back international friendlies to India by awarding Mumbai with its first official international match after 61 years. On September 3, 2016, this match took place between India and Puerto Rico. AIFF President Praful has said that India will host more friendly matches in the future.
In 2005, Patel was awarded the CAPA (Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation) Aviation Minister of the year. The award was in recognition of Patel's contributions towards the progress of aviation in the Asia Pacific region. In 2006, India Today ranked Praful Patel as the no. 1 minister. In addition, Patel was bestowed with the title of 'Reformer of the Year' by The Economic Times in 2007. Patel has also been awarded an honorary doctorate by Leeds Metropolitan University for his contribution in making India a rapidly developing and economically strong nation in 2007. For instance, the Civil Aviation sector grew exponentially under his leadership from the year 2004–09.
Participation in Cultural and Social activities
Patel is Chairman of the Manoharbhai Patel Charitable Trust and President of the Gondia Education Society, Gondia, Maharashtra. This society manages more than 1,000,000 students who are studying in schools and colleges that come under it. The Manoharbhai Patel Charitable Trust holds regular aid and equipment distribution programs in Gondia and Bhandara to improve the lives of the physically challenged.
Association with Sports and Clubs
Associated Sports and Clubs include the Gondwana Club, Nagpur Lions International Club, Gondia Football President of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Cricket Club Mumbai and Mumbai Cricket Association, Mumbai.
During his tenure as a Civil Aviation Minister of India, the national carrier Air India procured multiple aircraft and made heavy investments. The idea backfired, as it did not yield rich dividends. Another version that accounted for the fall of the airlines is the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines. The merger did not result in economies of scale that was aimed for. This is what the former Aviation Minister Ajit Singh says: "In retrospect, it is easy for people to say things. At the time of the merger it must have seemed the right thing to do." On the flipside, people believe that Air India has always been embroiled in controversy due to its bureaucratic functioning. Moreover, in the last six years the airline had four chairpersons with no-one willing to bite the bullet when it came to decision making.
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