Congress hits out at government for announcing 100% sale of Air India

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The Congress has hit out at the Centre’s Narendra Modi government for announcing its decision to sell India’s national carrier, Air India. Former Union Minister Kapil Sibal said that this conclusively proved that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had led India on the path of financial bankruptcy.

Air India

“When governments don’t have money this is what they do. Govt of India has no money, growth is less than 5% & millions of rupees outstanding under MNREGA. This is what they will do, sell all the valuable assets we have,” news agency ANI quoted Sibal as saying.

This was after the government came out with the PIM for 100% disinvestment of Air India as well as sale of Air India Express and 50% shareholding in equal joint venture AISATS, which provides cargo and ground handling services at major Indian airports. A report by news agency PTI said that the potential bidders will have access to draft share purchase agreement and all records of the debt-ridden airline in the initial stage of the disinvestment process itself, according to a bid document.

The last date for submitting an expression of interest (EoI) is 17 March while the last date for queries related to the disinvestment is 1 February. The successful bidder has to agree to accept all liabilities including a $3.26 billion debt.

In 2018, the government had proposed to sell 76% stake in Air India including the transfer of management control to the new owner. However, there were no takers to the government offer since the bidders found a $5.1 billion in debt too much of a liability.

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