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The decision is an indirect acknowledgement that the government has been unable to run Air India efficiently. But autonomy per se is not synonymous with the airline's revival.

The government is reportedly considering giving the Air India board autonomous control to run the Maharaja, on the condition that it will not ask the government for further support from the next financial year.

The decision is an indirect acknowledgement that the government has been unable to run Air India efficiently. But autonomy per se is not synonymous with the airline's revival.

The Air India board will get Rs 15,000 crore and a debt-restructuring proposal to manage its gargantuan outstanding debt. The board - just like any other corporate entity - will take all capital expenditure-related and commercial decisions.

A host of ideas contemplated by previous managements will go back to the discussion stage. With its huge financial and operational baggage, Air India may not be able to make a fresh start even if this plan gets permission to proceed.