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Official doc shows PMO is keen on disinvesting Air India pretty soon. Know when

PW Bureau

In an official letter, Kharola asked Lohani to provide the audited financials for 2018-19 to proceed with the disinvestment of Air India and its subsidiaries

New Delhi: The government has told Air India to prepare FY2018-19 financials for itself and its subsidiaries by end of June as the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has decided to accelerate the divestment process of three of its subsidiaries, an official document showed. Air India has a total debt of Rs 55,000 crores.

“A meeting was held on April 1 under the chairmanship of the Principal Secretary to PM (Nripendra Misra) in which it was, inter-alia, decided to speed up the process of disinvestment of AIATSL, AIESL and AASL,” civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola told Air India’s Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Ashwani Lohani in a letter dated May 6.

Which are the three subsidiaries that will be disinvested?

Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL), Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL) and Airline Allied Services Limited (AASL) are subsidiaries of the national carrier that the government is now planning to put on the block.

Kharola asks Lohani for audited financials

In the letter, Kharola asked Lohani to provide the audited financials for 2018-19 to proceed with the disinvestment of Air India and its subsidiaries. “I would, therefore, request you to kindly get financials of Air India and its subsidiaries for the financial year 2018-19 finalised by end of June,” Kharola said.

The secretary also said that the financial report will form the “basis of the bidding” and therefore, it needs to be prepared with utmost caution “so as to reflect the correct financial status.” Kharola added that contingent liabilities, “account receivables” and “account payables” must be thoroughly verified. A list of all pending litigations also needs to be drawn up, the secretary said.

The backdrop

The government was forced to abort a plan to disinvest the ailing airline in May last year after it failed to attract bidders. It was then decided that the Centre will infuse more funds into the national carrier and cut down debt by raising resources by selling land assets and other subsidiaries.