Praful Patel, who has been moved from the Civil Aviation Ministry to the Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Ministry in Wednesday's Cabinet reshuffle, on Thursday said, the Air India should not be declared sick as restoring financial health to national carrier was completely doable.
“The Air India required for a long time fresh equity and the decision on the same came a little too late. The government is committed to financial restructuring of the national carrier,” Mr. Patel, told journalists here after assuming the new office.
Referring to the Air India revamp plan being prepared by private firms, Mr. Patel said: “I have seen the document prepared by the Deloitte and SBI Caps and the long-term plans for Air India. It is completely doable and certainly there is no issue of the Air India not doing well in the future.”
Notably, only a month ago Mr. Patel met the then Heavy Industries Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh advising against the move to declare the Air India sick that has accumulated losses over Rs..5,000 crore.
Now with the change in his portfolio, Mr. Patel will have to take a call on whether or not to declare the Air India sick. “Putting the Air India into a sick category would be very categorical and not advisable. Now after coming in this Ministry, I will give all the help and positive approach to it,” he added.
Taking about his priorities, he said, with the help of his economic background, a new direction sought to be given to the functioning of the public sector enterprises. “If necessary, the government would examine with an open mind the issue of the PSUs entering into joint ventures as long as it makes economic sense,” he added.