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Amit Shah to head panel on Air India disinvestment

DIPAM has already prepared a fresh proposal for Air India sale.

ET Bureau|
Updated: Jul 19, 2019, 07.38 AM IST
Air India sale: Amit Shah to head reconstituted ministerial panel
Air India sale: Amit Shah to head reconstituted ministerial panel
NEW DELHI: The government on Thursday reconstituted a group of ministers tasked with working out the modalities for sale of Air India.

The GoM, called the Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism, will now be headed by home minister Amit Shah and comprise three other ministers. The earlier panel had five members. The other ministers in the panel will be finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, commerce and railway minister Piyush Goyal and civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri.

“The panel has been downsized to four members as against five earlier,” said a government official, adding that the reconstituted panel is expected to have its first meeting this month.

Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism was set up in 2017 with then finance minister Arun Jaitley as its head.

The panel will also take a call on whether the government should completely exit loss making Air India during the sell-off process.

Last year, the government had invited expression of interest (EoI) to sell 74% stake in the national carrier but no investor turned up. “This was mostly because of crude and exchange rate volatility. The situation is much better now,” said the official quoted earlier.

Earlier, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management secretary Atanu Chakraborty had said that there is a general feeling in the government that if people want to have full control, let them have it. “But I will be able to tell you only when a specific decision is taken. My personal view is that I do not see any conflict for the government,” he had said.

In her maiden budget speech, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that strategic disinvestment of select CPSEs will continue to remain a priority of this government.

“In view of current macroeconomic parameters, the government would not only reinitiate the process of strategic disinvestment of Air India, but would offer more CPSEs for strategic participation by the private sector,” she had said.

The government has raised the disinvestment target for 2019-20 to Rs 1.05 lakh crore from Rs 90,000 crore in the interim budget presented in February.

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