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AI privatisation welcome but clear salary dues first: Pilots

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New Delhi, Jun 25 : The proposal to privatise Air India is a welcome move but salary arrears should be settled first as promised earlier, feel pilots at the national carrier.

Facing tough financial conditions, Air India had resorted to salary cuts in 2012. Since then, arrears have been accumulating even as certain section of employees accepted revised pay scales.

The arrears to be paid to the 27,000-odd staff of Air India that includes pilots and cabin crew are estimated to be around Rs 1,200 crore. Out of the total amount, about Rs 400 crore is due for pilots, according to a senior pilot.

When Ashwani Lohani took over the reins of the ailing carrier nearly two years ago, he had assured that all pending dues would be paid in a phased manner.

Now, as the government looks at privatisation and other options to revive the airline, pilots want the salary dues to be cleared first before any decision is taken at the highest level amid uncertainty over the future course of action.

“We are looking forward to the privatisation of Air India. We are very pleased by this news and we hope that a professional management takes over. We want to work in an environment where there isn’t too much government interference,” a representative of the Indian Pilots’ Guild said.

Before privatisation happens, “our dues have to be cleared,” he said.

The Guild, comprising pilots of wide-bodied aircraft, has around 500 members.

Echoing similar sentiments, a representative of Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) said having a professional management could help in the airline’s revival.

“If Air India is going to be privatised then we will take up the issue of our dues,” he said.

The ICPA, which claims to have more than 1,000 members, represents the pilots of narrow-bodied planes.

According to the pilots, if the government privatises the airline they would like to start on a “clean slate” rather than just “outsourcing the current problems” such as salary arrears to the new investor.

“This is a problem created by the management and they have to first resolve the issue,” the pilot from IPG said.

While discussions are still at initial stages on the way forward for the debt-laden Air India, sections of employees seem to be on different pages when it comes to the idea of privatisation.

Earlier this month, seven unions of Air India employees warned of large scale protests if the government went ahead with privatisation of the airline.

The government think tank NITI Aayog has suggested complete privatisation of the airline, which has a debt burden of over Rs 52,000 crore.

The ministry of civil aviation is looking at ways to revive Air India, which is surviving on Rs 30,000 crore bailout package extended by the previous UPA regime.

India

Pranab stresses on education, skills and employability

Such a situation is “unacceptable” and the youth must a celook inward” if they are keen to end this.

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Kolkata, Feb 24 : With India set to become home to the world’s largest working population by 2022 and a global supplier of workforce, education, skill development and enhancing employability are the most urgent needs, former President Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday.

If India harbours the hope of reaping demographic dividends, it must make sure its people are educated and skilled enough, Mukherjee told a large assembly of young entrepreneurs at a special session organized by Young Indians, the youth wing of the Confederation of Indian Industry.

India’s potential is huge, but the failure to tap the potential in the right manner will frustrate its aspiration to become a global power, he said.

“The oldest civilisation will be younger and younger. The responsibility lies on you to remove disparity, inequality and provide leadership. Otherwise, I am afraid, demographic advantage will turn into a demographic disaster,” Mukherjee said.

He exhorted the country’s youth to work towards ending the growing wealth gap. There is an emerging divergence of haves and have-nots, he said, adding disparity exists not just on health and education parameters, but also on income distribution.

Such a situation is “unacceptable” and the youth must a celook inward” if they are keen to end this, Mukherjee said.

According to the former head of state, developmental paradigm must be shifted to equality and harmony.

“A recent report on the Indian economic situation between 2013 and 2017 states that 71 per cent of the total wealth generated in India is accumulated by 21 per cent people; while remaining 79 per cent of the population are left with 29 per cent of the wealth. This cannot go on for long. Change has to be brought about by the young people, not by me, not by anybody else,” he said.

The former President cited yet another study that brings to fore some other social disparities. As per the report, 40 of the least developed countries have only 13 per cent of the girl child getting enrolled in schools; and just 11 per cent of the men and women have access to some sort of healthcare.

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PNB says Virat Kohli continues to be its brand ambassador

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New Delhi, Feb 24: The $1.8 billion fraud hit Punjab National Bank (PNB) has said that Indian skipper Virat Kohli continues to be its brand ambassador.

“There are reports in the media that Virat Kohli, Bank’s brand ambassador is going to discontinue his endorsement with Punjab National Bank. The same is again totally false and incorrect. Virat Kohli is our brand ambassador,” the bank clarified through a public notice.

The notice further clarified: “There are media reports that the bank has engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct an investigation into the alleged fraud and PwC has been asked to gather evidence that can be used against Nirav Modi and his associates in the court. The news is totally incorrect.”

It also said that media reports saying Reserve Bank of India and government asking PNB to make payment of the fraudulent amount to other banks is also incorrect.

The bank reiterated that the bank has the capacity and capability to handle the situation and protect the interest of the institution, customers and stakeholders.

IANS

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Loan default case: Rotomac firm owner Vikram Kothari, son sent to 11 days CBI remand

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New Delhi, Feb 24: A special CBI court on Saturday sent Rotomac Pens owner Vikram Kothari and son Rahul Kothari to the 11-days CBI remand in connection with Rs 3,695 crore Loan default case. 

Yesterday, Patiala House Court had sent Kothari and his son to the one-day transit remand.

On Thursday, the CBI arrested Kothari and his son on charges of cheating a consortium of banks of Rs 3,695 crore (including interest) by siphoning off loans sanctioned to his company for procurement of wheat and other goods for export.

The Income Tax Department also issued a show-cause notice to Kothari asking why prosecution be not initiated against the group.

The agency arrested the two after day-long questioning at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters in south Delhi’s Lodi Road area.

It was the Kotharis’ questioning for the fourth consecutive day since the probe agency lodged the case against him and his family, and conducted raids at their residential and office premises in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur.

The CBI filed the FIR on Sunday night following a complaint against Kothari, his wife Sadhana and son Rahul, from the Bank of Baroda.

Vikram Kothari is the Chairman and Managing Director of Rotomac while his wife and son are Directors.

Kothari had obtained Rs 2,919 crore from Bank of India (Rs 754.77 crore), Bank of Baroda (Rs 456.63 crore), Indian Overseas Bank (Rs 771.07 crore), Union Bank of India (Rs 458.95 crore), Allahabad Bank (Rs 330.68 crore), Bank of Maharashtra (Rs 49.82 crore) and Oriental Bank of Commerce (Rs 97.47 crore), the FIR said.

Kothari, his wife, son, firm Rotomac, some unidentified bank officials and private persons were booked over the charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.

In its complaint, the  Bank of Baroda said that the banks had extended credit to the Kanpur-based firm and its related companies from 2008 onwards.

Earlier, the probe agency had earlier seized several belongings of Kothari and his kin, including laptops and mobile phones.

WeForNews 

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