AI sale: Niti wants 49% cap on foreign airlines to go

The Niti Aayog not only favors the privatization of Air India, but also easier conditions for the sale. It wants that the government should facilitate the sale of the national carrier by sweetening the deal. The measures could be writing off the huge debt and doing away with the condition that foreign airlines cannot pick up more than 49 per cent in a domestic aviation company.

A senior functionary of the Aayog told THC, “We in India impose too many conditions. This is not the way to attract investment.”

The Niti Aayog, the government’s think-tank, has earlier proposed AI privatization. While Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju supports the idea, he is skeptical about its attractiveness in the eyes of buyers who would be wary of buying a troubled airline. “There are hardly any bakras [sacrificial lambs] around so you can get one is difficult and businessmen are businessmen. There are limitations. One thing is for sure, the taxpayer’s money cannot be committed for eternity,” he said in an interview to a news channel.