Air India Desperate To Loss, Divestaged Sale Made To Save Public Money: Minister

Civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said that Air India had suffered losses

New Delhi:

Under opposition attacks over the sale of Air India to the Tata Group, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Wednesday retaliated and accused the UPA regime of burdening the profit -making national carrier with a huge debt burden.

Responding to the debate on the Civil Aviation Ministry’s Grant Claim in the Lok Sabha, Mr Scindia listed the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines, the purchase of 111 new aircraft and the liberalization of bilateral rights as the cause of the airline’s downfall. carrier.

Earlier, opposition members had slammed Mr Scindia for not referring to the sale of Air India in his nearly hour -long response to an eight -hour debate on budget allocations to the civil aviation ministry.

“Before 2005, Air India made a profit of Rs 15 crore a year and Indian Airlines made a profit of Rs 50 crore. The airline was made to buy 111 aircraft at a cost of Rs 50-55,000 crore which pushed the national carrier into deep debt , “said Mr. Scindia.

As opposition members rose to protest, Mr Scindia said he was not referring directly to Air India, but had to speak after Trinamool leader Sudeep Bandyopadhya and Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raised the issue.

The civil aviation minister said the decision to merge two airlines with completely different work cultures, purchase of 111 aircraft, liberalization of bilateral rights when Indian airlines did not have the capacity to meet them prompted Air India to record a daily loss of Rs 20 crore.

He said 14 -year losses had accumulated to Rs 85,000 crore, equity inflows had cost the government Rs 54,000 crore, grants to airlines amounting to Rs 50,000 crore and net debt of Rs 66,000 crore had left Air India staring at a gap of Rs 2.5 lakh crore.

“Under these circumstances the Prime Minister decided to end these losses. He decided to divest Air India’s investment to protect India’s 135 crore money and use it well through schemes like Ujjwala, Jal Jeevan Mission,” Scindia said.

On concerns raised by members, Mr Scindia said the shareholders ’agreement with Tatas clearly stated that there would be no layoffs during the first year.

After the first year, employees will be offered a voluntary retirement scheme, he said, adding that retired and retired employees will continue to receive medical benefits under the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS).

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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