Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday said that no other option is left with Air India but to go in for privatisation. Replying to a question during a press briefing on civil aviation issues, the minister said that the airline cannot depend on state funding to survive.
He cited that due to the COVID-19-induced economic turbulence the Centre might not be in a position to support the airline as massive financial resources have been deployed to safeguard the vulnerable sections of society. Furthermore, the minister without naming anyone said the airline should be left to those who know how to run it. He was replying to question on sharp political reactions that have been received on social media regarding the airline’s ‘Leave without Pay’ policy.
Recently, the national carrier has instituted a scheme whereby employees can opt to take “leave without pay” ranging from six months to up to five years. Additionally, the airline’s management will also have the option to send any employee on leave.
An Air India staff notice read, “The Board of Directors in its 102nd meeting held on July 7, 2020, has approved a scheme whereby employees can opt to take ‘leave without pay’ ranging from six months or for two years and the same can be extended to up to five years.
“The scheme also authorises the CMD to pass an order on behalf and in the name of the company whereby an employee could be sent on leave for six months or for a period of two years extendable to up to five years.”