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BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy today questioned the proposed move to disinvest Air India, wondering why the airline need to be sold as its flights are occupied. "In Delhi. I travelled both ways by Air India. Every seat in all three classes was occupied.
So why sell it? If we can run ISRO why not AI?," Swamy said in a tweet. The remarks from Swamy, who is known for taking contrarian views on many issues, come against the backdrop of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently saying that the Civil Aviation Ministry has to explore all possibilities "as to how the privatisation of Air India can be done". Air India, which has more than Rs 52,000 crore debt burden, is surviving on a Rs 30,000 crore bailout package extended by the previous UPA government in 2012. Government think tank NITI Aayog has recommended to the Prime Minister's Office a "complete" privatisation of the airline. According to the Civil Aviation Ministry, all options would be explored to revive the loss-making Air India. However, senior Air India officials say that airline has enough assets to back its debt and the government should not go for a "distress" sale or handover the airline to a private player on a platter.