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Praful Manoharbhai Patel
Praful Patel at the 2013 World Economic Forum annual meeting
|Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) for Maharashtra|
|Assumed office |
13 June 2014
|Member of FIFA Finance Committee|
|Senior Vice President of AFC|
|President of All India Football Federation|
|Born||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 17 February 1957 in Kolkata, India) is an Indian politician and businessman. His father, Manoharbhai Patel, was an Indian National Congress leader who was 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 the Civil Aviation Minister in 2004. His family runs the CeeJay group, a large tobacco conglomerate in India.
He has been the president of India's association football governing body the All India Football Federation (AIFF) since 2012. He became the Asian Football Confederation’s vice president of the SAFF region at the AFC Congress held in Bahrain in 2015. In December 2016 he was appointed as the Senior Vice President of the Asian Football Confederation. In 2017, Praful Patel became a member of a FIFA Finance Committee for a term of four years.
Patel followed in his father's footsteps in choosing 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 completed his tenure as Civil Aviation Minister and appointed as the Union Cabinet Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise in the same month.
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.
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.
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.
On 14 February 2014, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) was named the best national sports federation.
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.
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 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 centres 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 Mr. François Richard (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 presidency 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 a Special General Body Meeting of the AIFF held in New Delhi the decision to introduce the women’s league in India was taken by Praful Patel. He planned for more emphasis to women's football in India and said that AIFF will leave no stone unturned for providing support to the women’s national team to qualify for the AFC Women's Asian Cup. On 17 October 2016 during the tenure of AIFF President Praful, the women’s football league trial kicked off for the first time in India in the city of Cuttack.
In September 2016, the AFC Extraordinary Congress was held in Goa and the FIFA President Gianni Infantino, AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Praful Patel unveiled the new logo of the U-17 World Cup 2017 and the logo of All India Football Federation. The AFC President credited the restructuring in Indian football, with strong guidance by Praful Patel. Gianni Infantino stated that Indian Football is progressing very well under the leadership of Praful Patel.
Under the tenure of AIFF President Praful Patel, the first edition of the BRICS U-17 Football Cup tournament was held in the state of Goa where Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa participated. On 1 October 2016, the trophy of the BRICS U-17 Football Cup competition was unveiled by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi in presence of Praful Patel and Minister of State Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel.
On 1 December 2016 the AIFF President Praful Patel was appointed as the Senior Vice President of the Asian Football Confederation. Patel who was serving as the Vice President of the South East Region for the Asian Football Confederation thanked everyone for their support. Under the tutelage of Patel, India won the rights to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 and hosted the AFC U-16 Championship in September 2016 and the All India Football Federation has also won the AFC Developing Member Association of the Year Award at the AFC’s Annual Awards 2016 held in the city of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
On 24 January 2017 AIFF President Praful Patel launched the inaugural edition of the Indian Women’s League at New Delhi. The league will commence from 28 January with six teams participating in it.
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.
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, 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.
In October 2013, Bloomsbury India published The Descent of Air India, a book by Jitendra Bhargava, a former Executive Director of Air India, about the string of decisions that led to the felling of the state carrier. This book criticizes the minister for placing a large order for aircraft that put the airline in heavy debt and other “revelations” which showed Patel’s decision making in poor light. Patel responded by filing a case in the Mumbai metropolitan magistrate's court, seeking the book’s cancellation by citing that several parts of the book were “embarrassing” to him. Under pressure, the publisher cancelled the book without consent from the author, who maintains that he has documentary evidence to substantiate everything that is written in the book and that the veracity of the facts in the book haven’t been questioned.
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