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Senior IAS officer Pradeep Singh Kharola today took charge as the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India. Kharola assumed charge from Rajiv Bansal. A 1985-batch Karnataka cadre officer, Kharola would be steering the national carrier at a time when the government has started the process for its strategic disinvestment. He was the managing director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd since February 2015. Among others, Kharola has worked in various posts in Karnataka, including as the chairman of Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation Ltd.
He has also served as principal secretary to the Karnataka chief minister. As part of efforts to revive the fortunes of Air India -- which is staying afloat on taxpayers' money -- the government has decided on selling stake in the airline. The carrier, which has a debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore, managed to eke out operational profit for the first time in a decade in 2015-16.