Air India Disinvestment: Centre Plans to Announce New Deal by October

The Centre confirmed its intention to focus on reinitiating the disinvestment of Air India during the Union Budget 2019 presentation. The highest target the government has ever set for disinvestment was also announced in the Finance Minister’s maiden Budget. According to reports, the target that has been set for disinvestment stands at Rs 1.05 lakh crore during the fiscal year.

Efforts for the privatisation of Air India have taken off in full swing with the Centre planning on announcing the new deal by October. The government will be approaching prospective bidders with sources claiming TATA Group to be one of the top potential buyers.

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The Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) will be reassembled with the former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Minister of Commerce Suresh Prabhu being replaced the newly appointed FM Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri respectively.

The Centre plans on issuing the bidding documents for Expression of Interest once the AISAM panel has been reconstituted during the month. According to reports, the primary reason for the failure of Air India disinvestment earlier in 2018 was the decision to retain 24% of the airline.

However, the government has considered all the options and has opted to retain only 5% this time. The Centre has decided to put up the remaining 95% of Air India stakes for sale to generate interest among prospective buyers.

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