Thursday, June 01, 2017

Right & Left Unions On Same Page, Oppose Air India Disinvestment

The trade unions of both the right and the left wing have categorically opposed the NITI Aayog’s suggestion that the NDA government strategically disinvest from India Air, the country’s airline business.
While the Centre for Indian Trade Union on Wednesday termed the government's proposal to privatise Air India an “exercise with a dubious intent” to “fritter away a national asset” to benefit private airlines, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the trade union affiliated to the RSS has "warned" the RSS of "major confrontation" if the NDA-government decides to go ahead with the disinvestment.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had recently favoured disinvestment of the loss-making flag carrier, saying the airline's market share is just around 14 percent whereas the debt burden was Rs 50,000 crore.
He had also said that the taxpayer's money could be better utilised, such as for promoting education rather than in keeping the airline afloat.
Following this, the Civil Aviation Ministry on Wednesday said it has received recommendations from the NITI Aayog and is looking at all possible alternatives to make Air India viable.
He added that the BMS would oppose any suggestion related to disinvestment by the think-tank to the government.
In 2015-16, the airline posted operational profit of Rs 105 crore on account of low fuel prices and increased passenger numbers.
According to CITU, Air India has accumulated such a huge loss due to the burden of debt servicing.
It also said that the successive governments at the Centre, and not the airline's management, were to be blamed for the financial mess of Air India.
01/0617 The Quint