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Govt handing AI over to foreign players: Cong, CPI(M)

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The and the CPI(M) today strongly opposed the government's decision to allow 49 per cent in the civil aviation sector and accused it of handing over to foreign players.

Senior asked the to come clear on whether Air India's assets worth lakhs of crores of rupees would be given to foreign players.

He said the previous had relaxed norms for foreign players but had kept out of its ambit because of its status as the national carrier.

"The should be careful in allowing in Air India, which is a national carrier. It should not do anything in stealth," Sharma said.

The former Union said the carrier had assets worth lakhs of crores of rupees and had a large number of route permits as a result of bilateral agreements and these would be greatly affected by the government's decision.

"The government should clarify whether the ownership and control of would be handed over to foreign players and whether its assets would also be handed over, as well as on the monetisation of routes," he said.

Sharma said the government had consciously kept Air India out of the purview of FDI when it allowed 49 per cent FDI in the civil aviation sector.

Saying that the party would examine the government's decision, he sought answers from it on how its policy would affect the national carrier.

The CPI(M) also opposed the decision and accused the government of moving towards handing Air India over to a

"The politburo of the CPI(M) strongly opposes the decision to allow to invest up to 49 per cent in Air India," it said in a statement.

"Having taken the decision to privatise Air India, the is now moving towards handing (it) over ... to a foreign airline," the party said.

advised the government to pay heed to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, that had asked it to review its decision on the privatisation of Air India.

The CPI(M) also criticised the decision of the Cabinet to allow 100 per cent FDI through the automatic route in single- brand

"Though FDI up to 49 per cent was permitted under the automatic route (till now), this decision to liberalise FDI in will have harmful consequences for domestic and shopkeepers," it said.

The government today allowed to own up to 49 per cent stake in national carrier Air India at a time when the process for the strategic disinvestment of the debt- laden airline is on.

While allowing foreign investors, including foreign airlines, to have a stake in Air India, the government also made it clear that the national carrier's substantial ownership would remain with an Indian national.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 10 2018. 22:00 IST