‘Govt Yet to Clear Dues Worth Rs 598.55 Crore Owed to Air India’
While the PMO owes Air India Rs 297.081 crore, MoD, which handles the President’s flights, owes AI Rs 212.19 crore.
The Central government owes Air India a whopping Rs 598.55 crore as on 31 March 2017 and almost half the amount is owed by the Prime Minister’s office, reported Scroll. An RTI query has revealed that the cabinet secretary in the PMO, which handles the prime minister’s flights, owes Air India Rs 297.081 crores.
The overdue bills date from 2018 and 2019 and the largest bill, which comes up to Rs 203.546 crore is dated July 2018.
It is not just the PMO that has been stacking up overdue bills. The Ministry of Defence, that handles the President’s flights, owes Air India Rs 212.19 crore. Scroll reports that almost 70 per cent of the amount has been billed to the PM Modi-led BJP government. The only bill from the previous Congress government dates back to 2009 and comes up to Rs 4.445 crore.
The RTI query was received by Commodore Lokesh Batra on 17 May 2019. Two weeks after he filed the application.
“The media often reports that employees’ salaries get delayed, but why? At the end of the day, it is taxpayers who pay for lapses of governance.”Commodore Lokesh Batra to Scroll
Apart from the expenses owed by the PMO and the President’s office, the Ministry of External Affairs too has dues to the tune of Rs 66.946 crores for the Vice President’s flights. The oldest bills in this case date back to 2008 as well.
The cash strapped Air India has been selling property in a bid to pay off debts. The Economic Times reported that the government plans to sell subsidiaries of Air India and other assets to repay a part of the carrier’s Rs 29,000 crore debt that the government has taken over from it. The assets were estimated to raise Rs 10,000 crores to relieve some of the debt.
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