In the iconic Bollywood movie Deewaar, there is a scene in which Amitabh Bachchan tells a seller that he does not know how to do business. Did this scene inspire Narendra Modi for Air India stake sale?
Air India stake sale: In the iconic Bollywood movie Deewaar, there is a scene in which Amitabh Bachchan tells a seller that he does not know how to do business. His character, then, says that he would have Rs 10 lakh more for the building as he values it. The scene became popular as ‘Ma Ko Tohfa’.
In a recent interview to Swarajya, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he did not want to sell India’s national carrier, debt-laden Air India, for a price less than a buyer would have happily offered. “We don’t want to make a sale where we will be accused of selling something for X amount when we could have got more. But the policy decisions for strategic sales have already been taken,” he said.
“You have to differentiate between the lack of response to one sale offer and a policy decision. At the cabinet level, we have cleared the sale of not only Air India but several other (loss-making) public sector units – this itself is historical in many ways; that they are yet to be sold is the result of timing and process,” Narendra Modi said, when told by the magazine that he didn’t seem too keen on privatisation. The Prime Minister spoke on a range of issues from Indian economy to opposition to “suspicious” budget figures.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said that the government has decided to “wait and watch” for the next three-four months before taking a call the disinvestment due to prevalent market condition especially high fuel prices, PTI reported.
The government’s proposed stake sale in Air India failed to attract any initial bidder when the deadline for bidding ended on May 31. “Market condition is not right for Air India disinvestment now. In view of this we are keeping a wait and watch policy for the next three to four months,” Gadkari, who holds multiple portfolios such as road, transport, highways, shipping and water resources, told the news agency.
At the end of March 2017, the carrier had a debt burden of around Rs 48,877 crore. Of the total amount, Rs 17,360 crore was related to aircraft and Rs 31,517 crore pertained to working capital loans.