New Delhi, May 31, 2017: India’s think tank Niti Aayog has recommended strategic disinvestment of Air India so that the Centre does not have to spend more money on the loss-making airline.
In a report submitted to the Prime Minister’s office, the Niti Aayog has detailed a possible roadmap for Air India disinvestment, which includes writing off loans to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore, according to a report.
Finance Minister had revealed at that time that his government was intending to raise Rs 72,000 crore money by selling portions in troubled PSUs. Air India also falls under the category as it has a whopping Rs 50,000 crore debt of which Rs 30,000 crore was given by the government as a bailout package.
This was planning think-tank’s fourth report submitted recently that gives a clear and detailed framework divestment of Air India. The Aayog has also recommended writing off of Rs 30,000 crore which the government had extended to the carrier as a bailout package.
“Air India has debt of around Rs 60,000 crore, which includes around Rs 21,000 crore of aircraft-related loans and around Rs 8,000 crore working capital, said aviation sources,” the TOI report said.
The proposal is to transfer the aircraft-related loans and the working capital to the new owner while taking care of half the liability.
The Aayog has also proposed in its report that airline’s prime properties that include Air India building in Mumbai’s Nariman Point and some places in Delhi like Vasant Vihar should be hived off into a separate company. The Aayog further said this should be achieved before offering up to 100 per cent equity to a strategic partner.
Meanwhile, Aviation minister A Gajapathi Raju and his deputy Jayant Sinha confirmed that Niti Aayog had submitted its report, but did not disclose the details. “We are very proud of AI and will consider all possible alternatives for it. All options are open. Niti Aayog has suggested steps for a strong and viable airline,” said Raju at a press conference to mark three years of the Modi government.