Shah to head ministerial panel on Air India sale, Gadkari out: Sources

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New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) In what suggests change in power equation in the Modi 2.0 government, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari would not be part of the reconstituted ministerial panel on Air India which will decide the national carrier’s privatization.

Home Minister Amit Shah will head the panel with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri as its members.

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

“The group of ministers has been reconstituted. Nitin Gadkari is not part of it,” said a government official.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s name was earlier found missing from two key ministerial panels. This triggered speculation of a realignment of power equations within the BJP. His name was, however, included the very next day puttting to rest the speculation, albeit for the time being.

The government had last year invited bid to sell majority 76 per cent stake in the national carrier, but the plan failed with not even one private party showing interest in the first stage of the bidding process.

As it remains one of the unfinished agendas from the previous government, serious attempts are being made this time to sell the airline off this time. The earlier bid parameters are expected to be relaxed to make it a success this time.

“The government has already made it clear that FDI norms would be further relaxed for airline sector. As and when bidding for Air India happens, foreign airlines would be allowed to pick 100 per cent in Air India,” said another official.

–IANS

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