Congress Party Leader Rahul Gandhi Slams Sale of Public Companies to Private Firms By Modi Gov’t

On 19 August, the Indian cabinet gave its approval to a proposal to lease out the Jaipur, Guwahati, and Thiruvananthapuram airports, currently run by the government agency Airports Authority of India (AAI) to the private sector. In February of this year, India’s Adani Group took over three AAI airports at Ahmedabad, Mangaluru, and Lucknow.

Indian opposition Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday slammed a decision by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to privatise state-run companies.

Taking to Twitter against the sale of three airports – Jaipur, Guwahati, and Thiruvananthapuram – to private firms, Rahul Gandhi said that “maximum privatisation seems to be the Modi government’s philosophy”. 

Insinuating that corporations are bagging government firms owing to ties to PM Modi, Gandhi said, “COVID is just an excuse. The government is out to compromise the future of the youth”.

India’s Adani Enterprises, considered close to PM Modi, has nabbed six airports from the government agency the Airports Authority of India (AAI) since February of this year. The group has also bought a stake in the Mumbai and the Navi Mumbai (now under construction) airports from the private companies operating them, eyeing a mega presence in the Indian aviation sector.  

Gandhi said in his tweet that the government only wants to promote Modi’s corporate friends and show the door to permanent staff from government offices.

Apart from the privatisation of airports, the government is also in the process of privatising the state-run airline, Air India. The government is also planning to sell its entire 52 percent stake in the state-owned oil refiner Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).

In the budget tabled in February of this year, India set a target of $28.06 billion in disinvestment during the financial year 2020-21 (April 2020 – March 2021). It expects to fetch over $16 billion from the sale of state-run companies during the year, while another $12 billion is expected from the sale of financial institutions.

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