Modi Government set to take TOUGH decision on Air India! Plans revealed
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri has said in Parliament that if the Modi Government's initiative to disinvest Air India falls through, then the airline may be shut down.
A big revelation happened in Parliament today about Modi government's intentions to deal with the Air India disinvestment problem once and for all. It has been revealed that the government may even take the biggest decision and actually shut down The Maharaja! Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri has said in Parliament that if Air India divestment plan falls through, then the Modi government may shut it down. Last week, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the Central Government is considering Air India disinvestment by March 2020. The announcement was a serious one from the Modi Government as Sitharaman is one of the four member Group of Ministers (GoM), which is looking at the modalities to sell-off the Maharaja. The GoM is headed by Home Minister Amit Shah.
"I will go to that extent and say that," the Minister said replying to a question in the Upper House. Taking a small pause Puri said that the airline would be closed down if not privatised.
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The government is readying the bid document for selling off its entire stake in the national carrier and has set March 31 as deadline for completing the disinvestment process. In earlier attempt, the Modi government had in May, 2018 invited the expression of interest (EoI) to sell 76 per cent of its stake but not a single private party showed interest in the first stage of bidding. The top aviation ministry officials and Air India Chief Ashwani Lohani are currently meeting the potential investors before launching the bid process.
Hardeep Puri had last week said that the Group of Ministers (GoM) on Air India had earlier met and taken some decisions. Asked by a member in the Rajya Sabha if pilots had been leaving the airline in the wake of privatization, the Minister replied in negative. Air India has stayed afloat on government support. The UPA-II government had cleared a financial package of over Rs 30,000 crore to ensure the public sector carrier survived.