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Tuesday, 04 June, 2019, 16 : 00 PM [IST]

Air India to set up nodal cell for divestment by July 1

As per a TOI report by Saurabh Sinha, the government has stepped on the gas for divestment of Air India (AI). The airline will set up a nodal cell by July 1 at its headquarters “to facilitate interaction between various advisers appointed by DIPAM (Department of Investment and Public Asset Management) to assist AI in the process of disinvestment”.

An office order issued by AI last Friday (May 31) says, “For taking forward the process of disinvestment of Air India, it has been decided to constitute a nodal cell in Airlines House (Delhi HQ)… (A) data room shall be… fully operational effective July 1, 2019… Aruna Gopalakrishnan, ED (corporate affairs), shall be the single-point nodal officer on behalf of AI to interact with the various advisers for the purpose of disinvestment of Al. Further, Uma Maheshwari, who recently retired as ED (IT), will assist Aruna Gopalakrishnan on a full-time basis.”

The previous government had called a meeting on AI and its subsidiaries’ strategic disinvestment on April 1, 2019. After this meeting, AI was asked to finalise FY 2018-19 accounts for the airline and its subsidiaries by June-end. These accounts will “form the basis of bidding” for divestment.

Air India, which has debt-cum-liabilities of over INR 55,000 crore, needs to pay back INR  12,000 crore this fiscal to stay afloat. P S Kharola, Secretary Aviation wrote to AI Chairman Ashwani Lohani on May 6, saying that in this meeting, held under chairmanship of principal secretary to the PM, it was “decided to speed up the process of disinvestment of AIATSL, AIESL and AASL. (Source: TOI)
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