THE Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) strongly opposes the decision of the Modi government to privatise the national carrier, Air India. The union cabinet has accepted the recommendations of the Niti Ayog and given an in-principle agreement for the disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries. This decision has been taken at a time when, after prolonged losses since 2008, the airline has started achieving operating profits of Rs 105 crore for the year 2015-16 and an estimated operating profit of around Rs 300 crore in 2016-17.
Air India was crippled and burdened with debt due to monumental miscalculation and certain wrong decisions taken by successive governments at the centre. It is now being made the scapegoat and sought to be privatised.
The privatisation of Air India is being made with a bonanza to the perspective private buyer – the write off of the Rs 30,000 crore debt burden. The privatisation of Air India is not for saving public money but for handing over national assets for a song and defrauding the exchequer for the benefit of private companies, both domestic and foreign.
The sale of Air India is part of the overall privatisation drive of the Modi government which is against national interest. It must be stopped forthwith.