Mohan Bhagwat, chief the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, 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.”
If it’s not being run well, give it to those who will run it well. That must be an Indian, because control of our skies by those from another country should not be acceptable.Mohan Bhagwat, RSS Chief
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. InterGlobe Aviation Ltd.-run IndiGo, the first to show interest in Air India, said it can’t buy the national carrier under the plan worked out by the government. Jet Airways too decided against participating in the bidding process.
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 country, rather than cashless, 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.”
In today’s age we’ll have to run with less cash if not cashless. No matter what one says, there will be some amount of cash usage in the world.Mohan Bhagwat, RSS Chief
Watch the full briefing here.