Secretaries' Group to Meet on Monday, Discuss Air India EoI

Secretaries' Group to Meet on Monday, Discuss Air India EoI

The core group of secretaries on disinvestment is likely to meet on Monday and take up the Air India expression of interest (EOI).

It will be the group's second meeting this month.

At the earlier meeting, the group cleared strategic sale in BPCL, Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), BEML and Concor, and also discussed the EoIs for Air India. Stake sales in two power PSUs -- THDC India and Neepco -- were also approved. These two PSUs could be taken over by state-run NTPC.

According to official sources, the meeting could move towards the next step of EoI draft of Air India.

Recently, the cabinet approved new process for strategic disinvestment making possible stakeholder consultation before inviting bids. So far, the strategic disinvestment process didn't allow for stakeholder consultation before the government issued EOI.

There was no pre-bid consultation in the case of the first Air India divestment attempt.

With the change, the government will now get to know the investor demand and concerns better on specific stake sales, before formally inviting bids.

The core group comprises all finance ministry secretaries and corporate affairs secretary and law secretary.

After failing to find a bidder in its previous term, the new Narendra Modi government is striving to sell Air India to a private player.

Air India's total debt stands at around Rs 58,000 crore and cumulative loss, Rs 70,000 crore. In the financial year ending March 31, 2019, the airline is estimated to have reported a loss of Rs 7,600 crore.

Source: IANS