Air In­dia should be run by an In­dian firm, says Bhag­wat

RS S chief says In­dia can never be a fully cash­less econ­omy

Business Standard - - FRONT PAGE - PA­VAN BURUGULA

Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh (RSS) chief Mo­han Bhag­wat said on Mon­day Air In­dia should be handed over to an In­dian com­pany and for­eign in­vestors should not be al­lowed to par­tic­i­pate in the na­tional car­rier’s dis­in­vest­ment.

“If the prob­lem is that Air In­dia has not been run prop­erly, hand it over to some­one who can do it and it should only be an In­dian firm,” he said.

He gave ex­am­ples of coun­tries like Ger­many, which pro­tect their air­line in­dus­try from for­eign par­tic­i­pa­tion.

“No coun­try would ac­cept los­ing dom­i­nance over its skies,” he added.

Speak­ing at an event or­gan­ised at the BSE, Bhag­wat said it was un­fair to call the air­line debt-rid­den be­cause it had a lot of tan­gi­ble and in­tan­gi­ble as­sets.

The RSS chief also ex­pressed reser­va­tions over the gov­ern­ment’s idea of cre­at­ing a cash­less econ­omy. He said no mat­ter how much evo­lu­tion hap­pens in tech­nol­ogy, In­dia could never be­come a fully cash­less econ­omy.

Bhag­wat ad­dressed a 500-mem­ber gath­er­ing com­pris­ing stock mar­ket par­tic­i­pants, bro­kers and fund man­agers.

“Cre­at­ing a cash­less econ­omy is a thought with good in­ten­tions but the idea has cer­tain lim­i­ta­tions. Hence such ideas may not yield ben­e­fits as an­tic­i­pated. In­dia can al­ways be­come less-cash but not cash­less,” Bhag­wat said.

Speak­ing on the long-term per­spec­tive of the In­dian econ­omy, Bhag­wat said pol­i­cy­mak­ers should look be­yond ide­olo­gies such as so­cial­ism or cap­i­tal­ism and also be­yond eco­nomic in­di­ca­tors such as gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) growth and fis­cal deficit.

“IF THE PROB­LEM IS THAT AIR IN­DIA HAS NOT BEEN RUN PROP­ERLY, THEN HAND IT OVER TO SOME­ONE WHO CAN DO IT” MO­HAN BHAG­WAT RSS chief

He added In­dia needed a bal­ance be­tween agri­cul­ture, in­dus­try and com­merce, and a mod­ern eco­nomic strat­egy to be­come a leader in the global econ­omy.

“For the past few decades we have been mea­sur­ing our growth based on west­ern models. These method­olo­gies have se­ri­ous flaws. In­dia should put to­gether its own model for de­vel­op­ment, which should be based on the idea of em­pow­er­ment of all,” Bhag­wat added.

NITI Aayog ViceChair­man Ra­jiv Kumar, who was present at the event, ex­pressed sim­i­lar views about eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. In his speech, Kumar said, “Our growth would be mean­ing­less if it is not in­clu­sive.” Brush­ing aside con­cerns about the econ­omy, Kumar said In­dia was cur­rently on the cusp of a high­growth tra­jec­tory.

Bhag­wat and Kumar were speak­ing at the launch of the book In­dian Econ­omy and Eco­nomicPoli­cies: ALongTerm Per­spec­tive, pub­lished by Vivek Sa­muh, an RSS af­fil­i­ate.

Mar­ket par­tic­i­pants who at­tended the event sounded pos­i­tive on Bhag­wat’s re­marks.

“The idea of de­vel­op­ment is mak­ing the lives of peo­ple bet­ter and more pros­per­ous. In or­der to achieve it, we should be open to ex­plor­ing all kinds of ideas,” said Motilal Oswal, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Motilal Oswal Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices.

PHOTO: KAM­LESH PED­NEKAR

Mo­han Bhag­wat ( right) at the BSE in Mum­bai on Mon­day

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