Is Privatisation a Solution to Ailing Air India?


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After the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1992, India went through the structural overhaul of its economy and the parameters on which Indian economy structured is summarised in three words: Privatisation, liberalisation, and globalisation. Since then, these parameters have been directing India’s economy. The debate is going on if its benefits economy as the Government moves away from the businesses and lets the private sector take over its functions.

However, it has been proved beyond that the Government as a regulator is a must for the economic development. It has been established that the Government can bring in economic development which is captured in community’s state of poverty, unemployment, and inequality. The Government must step in to respond to what is called the “economic welfare”. Even in the economic growth, the Government has a decisive role to play.

The economic theories teach us that in some areas of economic activities, the markets are failures and in other areas of economic activities, the Governments are a failure. Overall privatisation, therefore, is impossible, the Government has a definite and an important role to play in the economic development is written on the wall.

What started as disinvestment in India ended in the corruption and selling out of important assets to the private hands with throwaway prices?

The capital changed hands from the public to the private. One can cite many of these transactions that are marked with corruption and nepotism.

The airline industries are perpetually loss-making industries whether they are in private hands or public hands. The losses in the industry are heavy and often the bank books are balanced to keep the industry flying. So the loss-making Air India is not an exceptional industry and moves to privatise it is not going to give it a shot in the arm.

The national career is the symbol of country’s pride and it has a brand value. It creates an image of the country.

The other countries use their national career to showcase their nation and they take pride in it. Air India can be one of the important careers of the India’s soft diplomacy if it is overhauled in the national interest. There are enough private players that do not mean that the state career cannot be there. Selling the Air India to private people is like selling the pride of the country to private hands.

Read -  बौद्ध, अंबेडकर, गौतम, भीमपुत्र/भीमपुत्री जैसे सरनेम साहस की बात है - सूरज कुमार बौद्ध

Anybody traveled by Air India today will, of course, find it in a bad shape. The flight services are in shambles. The staff is old. The aircraft are older. But all that can be changed, and changed easily, without Government losing anything on it. But the present Government is running the country like a company and it has to show that the profits are gained, but this is not the way to fudge the national accounts by selling the assets. The national accounts must be swelled by the real businesses and creating and producing wealth.

Mere tweaking the numbers by transactions will not give us the real growth in GDP. We must outperform in the areas of manufacturing and services.

Selling national assets to private hands is never going to solve any economic problem of our country. We are a nation that must showcase how we do things and how we run businesses. If the Government of the day is not capable of doing that and showing that they can excel in anything, there is a big and serious question mark on the efficacy of the party that is running the Government.

Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist

Image Credit – India Today

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