The move has encountered criticism from a parliamentarian from the governing federal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Dr Subramanian Swamy has threatened to take the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to court over the move.
Air India disinvestment process restarts today https://t.co/72eklh9C3g: THIS DEAL IS WHOLLY ANTI NATIONAL and IWILL FORCED TO GO TO COURT. WE CANNOT SELL OUR FAMILY SILVER— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) January 27, 2020
Dr Swamy claimed, “Air India (was) on Recovery mode”.
RT @NAVANGULTEJAS: @Swamy39 Air India on Recovery mode: Maharaja’s April-December EBITDA Turns Positive; Loss Narrows— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) January 27, 2020
CC @Swamy39 @jagdishshetty
PM @narendramodi Sir why does govt still want to sell this Family Silver instead of strengthening it ? https://t.co/C1SCV3mCPJ
A large number of the twitterati has come out in support of Swamy’s view that auctioning off “family silver” was unacceptable, especially when the airline was making great efforts to come out of the red.
AirIndia👑Maharaja on Sale?— vishal mehta🇮🇳 (@vishalnautamlal) January 27, 2020
Dr @Swamy39 had rightly said
we cannot sell our family silver!
if private players can
revive loss making #AirIndia
make it profitable thn why
can’t🇮🇳Govt recruit some
highly professionals to retain
AI make it world class
profit making✈️Airline co.? pic.twitter.com/sTkECmdLon
Don't forget India was ruled by East India company first. If we sell all important national companies to private sector then we will not have a real democracy. Think about long term implications.— Plural one (@prernapm) January 27, 2020
Another group of netizens criticised Dr. Swamy for his views, with some saying that the government should not be involved in business ventures at all.
Air India is in loss ,— Raj H Goradia (@RajHGoradia) January 27, 2020
Why tax payers money to be spend for such companies
Just because politicians want luxury
Government has no business to be in business. It should rather buy some stakes in some successful private airline than spend a dime on Air India— Mrinal Saurabh (@mrinalsaurabh) January 27, 2020
Family silver that drains all our family gold!!— SirSnackALot (@phoenix2106) January 27, 2020
Ban free ticket for politicians and their entourages then but will the various ministers agree to that? How do you turn this around given it’s high cost of operations and debt overhang? Bigger question who in their right mind would want to buy it other than for landing rights— SirSnackALot (@phoenix2106) January 27, 2020
Yes, it's like losing a cow for a cat. There are more important areas which needs govt assistance, let the #maharajas, work hard to feed themselves.— Dr. Chandra Reddy (@DrChandraReddy2) January 27, 2020
The government will identify pre-qualified bidders by 31 March and thereafter the disinvestment process is set to enter stage two, where price bids will be considered and followed up by a decision for whom to sell Air India to.
With this auction, the government aims to mitigate Air India’s $8.45 billion debt. The airline owes $3 billion to airports and other vendors. As per the government’s decision, it plans to write off a $2.20 billion working capital loan. With this, the prospective bidder will have a debt liability of only about $3.25 billion.
This is the second attempt to privatise the national carrier, which is facing daily losses worth $3.6 million. The Indian government failed in its bid to sell it late last year, as the word going around in business circles was that Air India is burdened with debt, operational liabilities, and incurring losses worth billions.