A core group of secretaries will reportedly meet on Monday to discuss the drafting of express of interest for Air India disinvestment. In this meeting, the group is expected to discuss the next step in drafting the EoI for stake sale in Air India, news agency IANS reported. The core group comprises of all finance ministry secretaries, along with corporate affairs secretary and law secretary.
This will be the second meeting of the group this month. In their last meeting, the secretaries had discussed the EoIs for Air India and approved the strategic sale in BPCL, Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), BEML and Concor. The group of secretaries had also cleared stake sales in THDC India and Neepco were also cleared. These two power PSUs could be taken over by state-run NTPC.
The Modi government tried to divest Air India in its last term to rescue the debt-laden national airline. Air India's total debt stands at Rs 58,000 crore, along with cumulative loss of Rs 70,000 crore. In the last financial year alone, the carrier is estimated to have suffered losses to the tune of Rs 7,600 crore. Now, the Modi government is trying to sell Air India to a private player.
Moreover, the Cabinet had recently approved a new process for strategic disinvestment to accommodate stakeholder consultation before inviting bids. This development would help the government understand investor demand and concerns better in specific stake sales.
Earlier, strategic disinvestment process did not allow for stakeholder consultation before the EoI was floated by the government. The same thing happened in the previous attempt to disinvest government stake in Air India.