Air India, by itself, was never on the verge of collapse. The present situation has risen due to the inept decision of merging Air India
and Indian Airlines
by the political masters of the United Progressive Alliance, unopposed by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 2007.
To get out of the situation of getting Air India
out of trouble, NDA’s political masters have decided to privatise the national carrier. Is this an apt decision?
The Narendra Modi
government has been using the services of Air India
for rejuvenating India’s global reach, image and appeal but has failed to turn it around into a profit-making public sector undertaking. Is this not a major failure of the NDA
government? Has the route of privatisation
been taken by the NDA
government to sweep its lack of success under the red carpet of the Maharaja? Changing the minister of state for civil aviation has not come in handy.
Vital issues need to be addressed:
Who is responsible for the debt trap of Air India
— the ruling political class, bureaucrats, self-serving executives and professionals of Air India
or the depressed morale post merger and lack of competitive spirit among employees?
Why did the NDA
oppose the privatisation
proposal in 2013 but is now pressing for it?
Who is accountable for the gross mismanagement of Air India?
* Why has the NDA’s revised turnaround plan not brought about the desired results?
It is a weak move to put the state-owned carrier in private hand(s). A more viable decision would be to separate its international and domestic operations and put them under independent managing directors reporting to an executive chairman of the airline. Professionalism, merit, efficiency and integrity should be the criteria for selecting key executives. Each of the independent international and domestic wings should be given a free hand. The government should infuse equity capital one last time to reduce debt and give Air India
another opportunity to regain its glory.
Dalip L M via email
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