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Government readies draft EoI for Air India privatisation, to be issued soon

The Centre has finalised the draft Expression of Interest (EoI) document for the privatisation of Air India, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

According to the official, the EoI inviting bids for the national carrier will be issued by the month end.

The development comes after the ministerial panel on Air India disinvestment met here on Tuesday.

After the meet, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the meeting was productive and a statement on the decisions taken will be issued soon.

At present, Union Home Minister Amit Shah heads the panel looking after the divestment process. Its other members, apart from Puri, include Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and Commerce and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

In the previous Modi government, then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley headed the ministerial panel called the Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM).

After failing to find a bidder then, the government is working on a war footing to sell Air India to a private player.

Last week, Puri had said that Centre is in the middle of a serious divestment process which is required to save Air India as it has accumulated unsustainable debt levels over the years.

He said the national carrier was making a loss of Rs 20-26 crore per day.

Besides, he said the healthy asset quality of the airline has generated interest from private entities and established airlines.

Furthermore, the minister has reassured Air India’s employees that the passenger carrier will remain operational till its privatisation process is complete.

He had last week met Air India employees’ unions in New Delhi.

Puri, according to the union, had said that Air India will run till its privatisation and requested all the unions to cooperate towards the process.

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