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Govt to decide on airline FDI soon

PTI     April 5, 2012
The Government on Thursday said that it will "very soon" take a decision on the issue of allowing foreign airlines to pick up stake in the Indian carriers.

"This has been discussed with the Finance Minister , Civil Aviation Minister and myself and an appropriate view and decision will be taken very soon," the Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma , said at the sidelines of a summit.

Accepting a major demand of the cash-strapped aviation industry, the government had on January 17 decided to launch the process to allow foreign airlines 49 per cent stake in Indian carriers.

This was decided at a meeting between the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, and the Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh . The Civil Aviation Ministry thereafter circulated a Cabinet note on the matter.

Earlier, foreign airlines were not allowed to invest in Indian airlines, though foreign direct investment of up to 49 per cent by FIIs and other investors, not connected with aviation business, was allowed. Allowing foreign airlines to pick up stake in Indian carriers would mark a major policy shift.

Meanwhile, in order to help the ailing aviation sector, Pranab Mukherjee in the Budget 2012-13 allowed aviation companies to raise up to $1 billion in External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs).

India's financially troubled civil aviation sector grew at 18.5 per cent in the last seven years and the Government has taken various steps to resolve the woes faced by airline industry, the Economic Survey for 2011-12 had said.

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