Commenting on Niti Aayog's proposal to privatisate Air India, Jayant Sinha said the Cabinet had conducted inter-ministerial consultations on it and would decide on a course of action soon, PTI reported. "Those recommendations are with the Cabinet right now and the Cabinet will take the process forward", Sinha told reporters here.
This could be done after taking over a portion of its debt, he added.
As part of efforts to reduce its debt, the government might also nudge LIC and other public sector enterprises to buy certain non-core assets of Air India.
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Air India, which has more than Rs 52,000 crore debt burden, is surviving on a Rs 30,000-crore bailout package extended by the previous UPA government in 2012.
"Therefore, how fair is it for the government to occupy 14 per cent of the market share and then say some Rs 55,000-60,000 crore of tax-payer's money must get into this whole process?"
The larger question before the government is whether there is a need for a state-owned carrier and if it is to be there, whether the current operational structure should be revamped or not, the official said. It would take a few more weeks before the plan is finalised, he added.
Minister of State (MoS) for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha on Tuesday said the aviation sector is totally prepared for GST or Goods and Services Tax rollout on July 1. Recently, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said the aviation ministry has to explore all possibilities "as to how the privatisation of Air India can be done".
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