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Cabinet okays 'in principle' disinvestment of debt-ridden Air India; workers' union demands debt waiver
According to government press release, the cabinet has in principle approved for disinvestment of loss-making Air India and five of its subsidiaries.

A decision has been taken to set up a committee to explore various options including strategic divestment based on the recommendations of Niti Aayog.

"The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to fourth tranche recommendations of NITI Aayog on strategic disinvestment of CPSE (strategic disinvestment of Air India and five of its subsidiaries) based on the recommendations of Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment (CGD)," stated  the release.

The committee set for this purpose will 'guide the process on strategic disinvestment from time to time and decide the following: Treatment of unsustainable debt of Air India; Hiving off of certain assets to a shell company; Demerger and strategic disinvestment of three profit-making subsidiaries; The quantum of disinvestment; and The universe of bidders'.

Reportedly, Air India has incurred Rs 50,000 crore of accumulated losses which has led to the cabinet's decision to explore the mechanism to privatise it.

However, the Air India workers have asked the government to wave off Rs 30000 cr debt instead of privatisation of the airline. The Air India workers' union has opposed privatisation of the airline and demanded a debt waver.

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