THE Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), in a statement issued on January 11, has denounced the government’s announcement of allowing 49 per cent FDI in the country’s national carrier – Air India. Modi government had already decided to push Air India for wholesale privatisation. And to expedite such move for privatization, the government has now made this announcement of permitting 49 per cent FDI. Actually, this is nothing but complete foreignisation of the national carrier – a public sector company with its huge asset base and a high-revenue earning international service network.
The government of the day is making the plea of huge losses that the Air India is burdened with, to justify privatisation. But it seeks to hide the fact that Air India has been pushed to this situation not because of its management’s failure but owing to imposition of disastrous decisions on the company by successive governments at the centre like hasty merger of Indian Airlines and Air India; forcible procurement of huge fleet of aircrafts from foreign companies through direct purchase at an in-opportune time thereby imposing on the company an unbearable burden of indebtedness leading to loss. Despite such reckless and imprudent misadventures and subsequent hurdles imposed by the successive governments, including the current one through the concerned ministry, Air India struggled to come back to operating profit for the last three years. Despite that, the present government has decided to privatise the national carrier, and to hasten up the process, the door is now widely opened for the foreign companies to take over. Such destructive decision is being pursued by the government despite the concerned parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture, comprising of representatives of all the political parties including the BJP, unanimously recommending not to privatise Air India, at least for three years more while helping it for speeding up its improvement which has already set in. When privatisation, rather foreignisation of national assets becomes the main goal of the government, then such destructive decisions of foreignisation of the national carrier are taken, with a complete lack of concern for national interests. CITU vehemently condemns such destructive moves.
Equally destructive is the decision of the government of allowing 100 per cent FDI in single brand retail trade, which in the background of fast corporatisation of the retail trade sector has already been putting the existing decentralised retail trade sector in severe difficulties and crisis. Allowing 100 per cent FDI in single brand retail trade will further increase the hardship of traditional retail trade sector which is the second biggest livelihood giver after agriculture and will expedite the ruin of the traditional retail trade sector.
CITU condemns these destructive and reckless decisions which are destined to damage the national economy and reduce employment, and calls upon the working class to build up determined resistance, both through sectoral and nationwide united struggle, against such deliberate exercise towards degeneration of the national economy and peoples’ livelihood.