Govt for 100% privatisation of Air India: Hardeep Singh Puri

Hardeep Singh Puri  

The government would embark on “total” or 100% privatisation of Air India (AI), Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday.

“The government’s determination to privatise AI is a given. It’s undiluted. It should be a total privatisation. We have to get the best possible deal in the shortest time possible,” Mr. Puri said at a press conference. 

In its earlier disinvestment attempt, the government sought to sell 76% of its stake and retain the remainder. This was among the main reasons why no private player came forward to participate in the privatisation process.

A Group of Ministers headed by Amit Shah was likely to meet “in the next few days” to look into the proposal prepared by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and reviewed by the Committee of Secretaries at a recent meeting, Mr. Puri said, adding that there were players who were interested in Air India. 

The government had learnt from its past mistakes and, therefore, realised the need for a complete exit from Air India, Mr. Puri said. Another major obstacle it had sought to circumvent was the huge debt size of ₹58,000 crore until March 2019. It had hived off ₹29,000 crore of this and transferred it to a special purpose vehicle to provide relief to the airline in terms of the interest to be paid on the debt as well as to attract private players.

The Minister refused to comment on whether the government would retire more debt when it offered the national carrier for privatisation again.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 7:40:55 AM |

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