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Business Companies 31 May 2017 Niti Aayog backs sta ...

Niti Aayog backs startegic sale of loss-making Air India in report

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published May 31, 2017, 9:32 am IST
Updated May 31, 2017, 9:46 am IST
Aayog report comes amidst talks that govt may go for divestment of ailing airline.
Air India has been kept afloat with a Rs 30,000 crore bailout package.
 Air India has been kept afloat with a Rs 30,000 crore bailout package.

Mumbai: India's think-tank Niti Aayog has recommended strategic sale of loss making national carrier Air India, according to a report in The Times of India. The Aayog has submitted its report amidst talks that government may go for divestment of airline.

The latest report paves way for strategic sale of the airline whose divestment was mooted by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Union Budget 2017 speech that envisioned sale of India's ailing public sector undertakings or PSUs.

 

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 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.

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