Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said on Friday that the proposal for allowing foreign carriers to pick up 49% in Indian airlines would be taken up by the Cabinet very soon.
?I have discussed it (the proposal) both with the finance minister and the Prime Minister. The issue was also discussed in a group of ministers meeting in which the civil aviation minister, myself, and (home minister) P Chidambaram were present. The Cabinet note has been subsequently moved and will soon be listed for the Cabinet’s consideration.?
The home ministry’s nod for the proposal is important in the wake of security issues raised.
Earlier, the West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee had voiced concerns over the proposal.
However, the government is now committed to get the proposal cleared at the earliest possible. It was finance minister Pranab Mukherjee who, in his Union Budget speech, had said that a proposal to allow foreign airlines to participate with up to 49% in the equity of an air transport undertaking, engaged in operation of scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, is under active consideration of the government.
Currently, India allows foreign investors, not related in any way to airline business, to buy up to 49% stake in domestic airlines, but foreign carriers are not permitted to invest in them.