AIR INDIA FOR SALE

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Mar 2018 10:30:28


THE Narendra Modi-led Central Government’s decision of strategic disinvestment of Air India has come at the right time given the national carrier’s inability to withstand sectoral competition and huge outstanding debts. The ‘Maharaja’, once holding an iconic place of pride in the country, will be transferred into private hands with the Government deciding to sell up to 76 per cent of its stake in Air India. This was a much-needed move that previous Governments did not dare to attempt.

From the time the Union Government took control of Air India from the Tatas, the airlines faced many a turbulence due to poor handling of its affairs. It did enjoy a few bright patches but that was only till the Tatas’ influence on the company lasted. Despite pumping regular funds Air India was never up to the challenge of private carriers so much so that the current domestic share of the national airlines is just 13 per cent. The Government cannot push this white elephant just for the sake of its ego. Phased privatisation is the only solution to revive the ‘Maharaja’ and make it attractive.

 

WHAT BONHOMIE?

HAVING made no substantial point a few months ago when he and three other Supreme Court judges wrote a letter about allocation of cases to judges, Mr. Justice J. Chelameswar has now chosen to blast what he has called ‘Judiciary-Government bonhomie’, in another letter to Chief Justice Mr. Dipak Misra. Though to some he may sound as making a valid point, Mr. Justice Chelameswar appears keen on keeping things on the boil within the Supreme Court.

This letter almost carries forward the line taken by him and other three judges in the January letter -- trying to blast the Government’s alleged interference in administrative issues of the judiciary in general and the Supreme Court in particular. One does not know if Mr. Justice J. Chelameswar is following some unspoken agenda with some political undertones. For, if this letter is a communication between a senior judge and the Chief Justice, it should never have been made public. It is this dimension of the episode that raises the ugly question: Is there politics involved?