Desperate to Privatise Air India
THE CENTRE of Indian Trade Unions(CITU) denounces desperate move of the BJP government to completely privatise the national carrier, Air India by way of divesting its entire shareholding in favour of a chosen single buyer in the “shortest possible time available”, obviously this is going to be a distress sale.
The desperateness of the government in a selling spree, of all national assets has arisen out of its failure to privatise Air India through sale of 76 per cent government shareholding during its previous regime. And, that is why the government has now decided to sell its hundred per cent stake while making other facilitating arrangements for the private player to take over Air India with its huge asset base. This is nothing but succumbing to the blackmailing by private corporate to make the deal more attractive.
The Air India is a debt ridden company and such huge burden of debt and consequent burden of loss due to interest payment had been the result of the atrocious interference of successive ministries in compelling the Air India for unprepared merger and purchase of huge number of aircrafts without due diligence benefiting the foreign suppliers, which had landed the national carrier into loss and heavy indebtedness. Even then, the Air India management has been able to come back to operating profit consistently from 204-19. It has never defaulted in servicing the huge debt burden on time with the banks unlike many major private corporate majors who are going to be the prospective buyers of dismantled Air India.
The desperate bid to get rid of Air India by its owner-central government “within the shortest possible time” as asserted by the concerned minister at the press meet on August29, 2019 is getting notoriously reflected in some of the steps of the government; almost half of the debt of Air India to the tune of Rs 29,000 crore has been taken over by the government and removed off the books of accounts of the company; a part of the dues of Air India towards fuel account is being planned to be met by the government through equity support. All these are being made to sell the national carrier, Air India “within shortest possible time available” as touted by the concerned minister and as reported by the press.
Had the same facilities been made available to Air India, it would come back to profit “within shortest possible time available” and continue to contribute to national exchequer handsomely. But that is not the intention of the present BJP government engaged madly in a selling spree of national assets for private interest, both foreign and domestic.
The CITU condemns such destructive decision of the BJP government to privatise Air India and demands upon the government to restrain from such retrograde move. CITU calls upon working people and their unions irrespective of affiliations to unite and resist such destructive ploy of the central government.