The Civil Aviation Ministry in its bid to ease the national carrier's financial woes is making efforts to secure about Rs 2,400 crore for Air India through supplementary budgetary allocations and recovery of dues worth Rs 600 crore related to use of its planes for VVIP travel. Out of the total, around Rs 1,800 crore is being sought to meet the funding shortfall faced by the cash-starved national carrier.
Efforts are being made to secure funds for Air India as the supplementary demands of ministries would be considered during the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament beginning July 21.
A Ministry official said it is looking at recovering about Rs 500-600 crore from some ministries for using Air India planes for VVIP travel.
Most of the dues are to be paid by the External Affairs and Home Ministries, he added. According to the official, till recently, the amount due from various ministries stood at around Rs 900 crore and, after some payments were made, the outstanding now is about Rs 500 to 600 crore. To ensure that the dues get cleared at the earliest, the Civil Aviation Ministry is impressing upon the ministries that are yet to pay to seek that money by way of supplementary demand for grants, the official said.
Air India's aircraft are used by the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, External Affairs and Home Ministers, among other VVIPs. Besides, the Ministry is pitching for additional funds for Air India, which was allocated Rs 2,500 crore in the Union Budget 2015-16. The amount was well short of nearly Rs 4,300 crore sought by the Ministry for the national carrier.
The Ministry wants to make up for the shortfall of Rs 1,800 crore through supplementary demand for grants. Loss-making Air India, whose debt burden is about Rs 40,000 crore, is surviving on a bailout package approved in 2012. The erstwhile UPA dispensation had in April 2012 approved Air India's turnaround plan, with a committed public funding of Rs 30,231 crore, staggered over a period of nine years, with some specific riders.