Strong case for pri­vati­sa­tion of AI

The Air In­dia saga con­tin­ues to un­fold in its dis­mal. It is not the first time that this tragic farce is be­ing played out and cer­tainly will not be the last if Air In­dia con­tin­ues as a pub­lic sec­tor en­ter­prise (PSE).

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an­swer to the sim­ple ques­tion as to who ben­e­fits from this on­go­ing mess is a rather straight­for­ward one. Con­tin­u­ing with Air In­dia as a pub­lic sec­tor en­ter­prise serves the en­trenched vested in­ter­est of no more than a hun­dred thou­sand per­sons, in­clud­ing the em­ploy­ees in a coun­try of 1.2 bil­lion!! Its con­tin­u­a­tion as a PSE has no strate­gic im­pli­ca­tions and not even in the wildest stretch of imag­i­na­tion does it serve the in­ter­est of ei­ther the poor or the so called

There is though one pa­tently spu­ri­ous ar­gu­ment in sup­port of its con­tin­ued sta­tus as a PSE. This is about con­nect­ing far flung and sparsely pop­u­lated re­gions of our coun­try and for serv­ing the an­nual air travel needs of the reli­gious pil­grims. This ar­gu­ment is as spu­ri­ous as say­ing that vil­lages can be con­nected to the tele­com net­work only by BSNL and only pub­lic sec­tor road trans­port ser­vices can con­nect ru­ral des­ti­na­tions.

Both these ar­gu­ments have been proved to­tally false in real life ex­pe­ri­ence. And even the slight­est bit of hon­est think­ing will re­veal to all con­cerned that pub­lic ser­vice ob­jec­tives can be far more ef­fi­ciently achieved by a ju­di­cious and well-reg­u­lated op­er­a­tion of the pub­lic pri­vate part­ner- ship, with the gov­ern­ment partly foot­ing the bill as in vi­a­bil­ity gap fund­ing. con­tem­plate get­ting there. So any at­tempt to find a 'so­lu­tion' or fix the prob­lem within the present frame­work is bound to fail as hap­pened in a pre­vi­ous phase when the Air In­dia's Board with lead­ing lights from the cor­po­rate world tried to de­vise a plan to re­vive it.

Ra­jiv Ku­mar

Sec­re­tary Gen­eral FICCI

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