Air India Should Only Be Run By An Indian Firm, Says Mohan Bhagwat
Mohan Bhagwat, chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), said Air India Ltd should only be run by an Indian company, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushes to privatise the debt-laden carrier surviving on a government bailout.
“The question isn’t whether Air India isn’t running well, but whether it’s being run well,” Bhagwat, head of the ideological parent of Modi’s ruling BJP, said in Mumbai. “Air India has relevance that goes beyond its assets; it has intangible benefits.”
Bhagwat’s comments — while speaking on the Indian economy and long-term policies — come when the government’s plan to sell Air India has already received a setback.
As part of the plan, the government will sell 76 percent in the airline, along with 100 percent in its low-cost arm Air India Express, and 50 percent in the ground handling unit. A potential buyer will have to take on more than half of the Rs 54,000 crore debt. The government plans to retain the remaining 24 percent in the airline.
‘A Less Cash India’
India should aim at being a less cash India, rather than a cashless India, Bhagwat said. “Many people in the country cannot do cashless operations. Maybe you can do it, but there's a large group outside, which cannot. And they don't have the energy to learn it now. Thus, transition will happen but slowly.”