The National Carrier Air India on Sale in pieces by Central Govt: CITU Denounces the Retrograde and Dubious Move

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions condemns the retrograde move by the BJP Govt to put the National Carrier Air India on sale by cutting the same in pieces to facilitate easy sell out. 

The privatization is being justified on the plea that Air India has become unsustainable owing to heavy loss and indebtedness. This is nothing but a bogus plea. The loss and debt burden of Air India had not been the result of imprudence or failure of the concerned management; it is the atrocious interference of successive ministries in compelling the Air India for unprepared merger and purchase of huge number of Aircrafts without due diligence benefitting the foreign suppliers, which had landed the National Carrier into loss and heavy indebtedness. But despite all problems and constraints, Air India has been able to come back to operating profit consistently during last three years. It has never defaulted in servicing the huge debt burden on time with the banks unlike many major private corporate majors who are going to be the prospective buyers of dismantled Air India. 

The entire privatization exercise of Air India, if seen in details, as reported by national print media, exposes the dubiousness to serve the private corporates including foreign majors severely compromising the national interests. The national carrier is being sold in pieces viz., Air India, AI-Sat, AI-Express etc and around 50 per cent of the debt burden would remain with a Special Purpose Vehicle-AI Asset Holding, keeping noncore real estate with it. This SPV along with substantial debt burden will remain with the Govt. 

Then what will be the net outcome of Air India Sale? The National Carrier will be taken over by private players in partnership with foreign aviation major; AI Sat, the Engineering Service and Ground handling entity, AI Express, Alliance Air etc which are all consistently earning comfortable margin/profit will become profit-making private entities and major debt burden and liabilities will remain with Govt through SPV. The national exchequer is going to be put on heavier loss. 

And the most derogatory and inhuman part of the privatization exercise is that the prospective buyers of Air India entities will have the obligation to retain the existing employees for only one year. Never before the workers and employees who actually run the organization, are dealt with such contempt. Such a provision has added a notorious dimension to the Govt's obsession in ensuring "ease of selling Air India" as part of its main project of "ease of doing business". 

CITU maintains that the ongoing policy of privatization is nothing but a mechanism to sell out national assets and operational entities on a platter to the detriment of national interests. The Air India privatization is no exception to that anti national design. 

CITU calls upon the working class and the people at large to oppose and resist such disastrous design of privatization of Air India through countrywide united struggle.                                                   

Issued by,
General Secretary

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