Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Why is Air India being singled out for step-motherly treatment

In colloquial Hindi there is a ribald saying – “Garib Ki Joru Sab Ki Bhabhi “ – which while it defies literal translation, points to the helmsmen of a sputtering economy who have suddenly woken up and now want to burnish their neo-liberal credentials. The easiest mark to pick on is none other than the national airline, Air India. An abused child whose parents keep turning on it periodically.
The in-principle Cabinet approval for the privatisation of Air India begs a fundamental question that policymakers as well as the gurus of privatisation have failed to address in the past 26 years : Does Privatisation Serve the Public Interest?
To answer this question one must go back into the genesis of the current phase of the “grand garage sale” of public assets callously bartered away to oligarchs for nothing more than a song accompanied by the mocking melody, “It is not the business of government to do business”.
It all began with the Conservative Party in Britain in the 1970s. The Tories had long been obliged to undertake some process of de-nationalization. In response to the protracted political crunch in which the Tories struggled to maintain their parliamentary numbers, the Ridley report, written by one of their MPs, Nicholas Ridley, recommended a policy of breaking up the public sector and dismembering unions.
04/07/17 Manish Tewari/Indian Express