oppn parties The Maharaja Will Be Fully Privatized

News Snippets

  • PM Modi tells BJP workers that India is in for a long battle against the coronavirus and there is no scope to feel tired or defeated
  • PM Modi asks ministers to focus on exports and new areas and sectors
  • PM Modi asks ministers to prepare business continuity plan post the lifting of the lockdown
  • Corona cases in India cross 4000 and the death toll stands at 124
  • The government decides to double the testing of corona suspects from 10000 now to 20000 in the next three days
  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
26 nurses and 3 doctors test positive for COVID-19 at Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai, facility cordoned off, no entry or exit permitted from the hospital
oppn parties
The Maharaja Will Be Fully Privatized

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-01-28 13:35:36

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

The Centre has finally decided to sell the full 100% stake in the beleaguered state airline Air India. This is good news as the carrier has been bleeding for the last few years and draining valuable resources. It has not also been able to operate many flights for which it has route permissions. The government has also reduced the quantum of liabilities the bidders have to take on by almost a third. The logo and other motifs associated with the airline have to be mandatorily used by the successful bidder for a pre-decided time period. Since the liabilities are now fully covered against the cost of the aircrafts with the airline, it makes for an attractive proposition for the bidders.

The government has decided not to include certain assets like the iconic Air India building in Mumbai and other properties across the country along with some valuable artifacts and paintings in the deal. That is basically of little consequence in a deal of this size. But the biggest worry that remains is that of the bloated workforce. In 2019, the carrier had 11000 permanent staff and a government paper indicated that only 37% would retire in the next 5 years. That would still leave almost 7000 on the rolls, making its salary bill almost 35% higher than the industry norm. Yet, instead of offering VRS, the government kept on pumping good money after bad in a bid to revive the carrier. In this age when companies are becoming leaner to survive, Air India is suffering for its past follies of hiring more people than required.

Any businessman who makes a bid would have that uppermost in his mind. It is very difficult to take a company with enormous liabilities (although with equally enormous advantages like attractive route permissions and docking slots all over the world) along with a bloated workforce and turn it around. Air India is also disadvantaged as it is a full-service airline operating in a sector that has cut all frills and costs. Despite this, its market share has kept falling. Any successful bidder would definitely like to shed a major part of the workforce and the government must facilitate this in the long-term interests of the airline.