On Air India's disinvestment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said his government doesn’t want to be accused of selling something cheaply.
In an interview to Swarajya magazine, Modi said he disagreed with the perception that his government had been half-hearted at divesting from public sector entities. He said it had undertaken “significant disinvestment”.
Modi said his government has pursued Air India’s divestment “with utmost sincerity”. “You have to differentiate between the lack of response to one sale offer and a policy decision,” he said.
Sale of the airline and several other loss-making public sector units was a “result of timing and process”. “We don’t want to make a sale where we will be accused of selling something for X amount when we could have got more,” he said. On why his government had not issued a position paper ('white paper') on the state of the economy in 2014, Modi said things were “terrible” when his government took over. “Even the budget figures were suspicious,” he said but his government did not bring out a white paper in the national interest.
On failure to generate jobs, the PM said the problem was lack of consistency in the political debate around job creation. Modi said the previous Karnataka government claimed to have created 5.3 million jobs and the West Bengal government said it created 6.8 mn in its first term. "If states are all creating good numbers of jobs, is it possible the country is not creating jobs? Is it possible that states are creating jobs but the Centre is creating joblessness?” he asked.
On fixing India’s banks, the PM said the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code had helped in reducing loans gone bad. “Many businessmen have had to lose their companies for failing to pay bank dues,” he said. Bank mergers were merely only talked about but not implemented. However, his government had ensured the merger of five banks.