Air India disinvestment: After failing to attract a suitable buyer in the first attempt, the Narendra Modi government is open to the idea of listing Air India stakes but not for foreign ownership, TV news channels reported quoting sources. The government is discussing several proposals to take forward the Air India stake sale plan, including the listing of the stakes. However, even as the government is mulling listing, it is not open to the idea of foreign ownership, TV channels reported.
In January, the Union Cabinet approved the foreign direct investment of up to 49% under approval route in Air India but the official proposal that followed also said that the new owner of Air India will only be an Indian company. The government is of the opinion that Air India’s listing can fetch revenue without the loss of control.
By May 31, no bids were received for Air India disinvestment. Aviation Secretary R N Choubey had said that the government would rethink on existing architecture, terms and strategy to attract a buyer. The aviation secretary reiterated that the government has no intention of controlling the airline.
Air India has long been a mascot for brand India, but by 2009 the state-run carrier began reeling under a huge pile of debt and its services started deteriorating. As the national carrier, Air India slowly turned into a taxpayer-money guzzling machine ridden with inefficiencies and mismanagement, after which the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved disinvestment of this debt-laden air carrier.