Air India disinvestment a move to please entrepreneurs: Congress

| Updated: Jun 29, 2017 18:55 IST

New Delhi [India], June 29 (ANI): The Congress Party on Thursday said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Government, by approving the Air India disinvestment, is trying to please the entrepreneurs. Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said the government is doing so as the elections are near. "When Adani gets loan more than what is to be get by the all the farmers in totality, then it clearly indicates that the government's approval for disinvestment in Air India is an act to please the entrepreneurs. Their intention is clear. Elections are near and that is why they are doing so and not in the interest of the nation," Aiyar told ANI. Recalling an incident from the past, Aiyar quoted it as the time when Indian Airlines saw a dip. "Indian Airlines saw the dip when the then civil aviation minister Arif Mohammad Khan in 1990, after an accident, banned the usage of airline busses bought by late prime minister Rajeev Gandhi with the intention of taking revenge. Since then Indian Airlines has been regressing," he said. Another Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge suggested that such a move would take away the employment opportunities from the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes. "This government, instead of improving the public sectors, wants to disinvest them. SC/ST get majority of the employment from the public sectors. If this keeps happening, then their employment opportunities will be snatched. When a private party will take over, then it will also remove the criteria of reservation for the weaker sections of the society," Kharge told ANI. On a poser on raising the same issue in Lok Sabha, Kharge responded in an affirmative way. The Union Cabinet yesterday gave an in-principle approval for disinvestment of Air India. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while addressing a press conference, said that on the request of the Civil Aviation Ministry a group under his vigil will be constituted to decide on the modalities of the matter. "There was a proposal of civil aviation ministry of disinvestment of Air India, this has been given theoretical approval or an in-principal approval," said Jaitley. "In its proposal the civil aviation ministry had urged to constitute a group under the finance minister which can decide on the concerning modalities of the same, the cabinet has accepted that. How much of it will be disinvested? Or the issues related to its debts, hotels will be later on decided by the constituted group," he added. This step comes in the view of Ministry of civil aviation plying ways to revive Air India, which is surviving on Rs 30,000 crore bailout package extended by the previous UPA regime. Air India constitutes of the largest fleet of 140 planes in India. (ANI)
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