- By 2016-17 end, Air India Rs.48,876 crore debt
- In another year, losses may rise by another Rs. 3,500 crore
- Congress says foreign carriers cannot have equity participation
Last year, the government had decided on a strategic divestment of the state-run carrier, which has not shown profits in more than a decade and has been running on taxpayers’ money. By the end of 2016-17, the airline had a debt of Rs.48,876 crore. In another year, its losses were expected to go up by another Rs. 3,500 crore.
The debate about a possible solution has been long and bitter. Last year, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave in-principle nod for the strategic disinvestment of Air India.
But on Sunday, news agency Press Trust of India reported that a parliamentary panel has suggested that the government review its decision, as it would not be appropriate to disinvest in the airline at a time when it has shown operational profits.
The Congress is up in arms against the government’s move. Accusing the government of “not caring” about Air India, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said there were other ways of raising funds.