New Delhi: Air India’s projected net loss for 2017-18 is estimated at over Rs 3,500 crore, which was less than the provisional figure for 2016-17, government said in the Rajya Sabha.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said in a written reply that the projected net loss of Air India in the budget estimates for 2017-18 (provisional) stood at Rs 3,579 crore as against Rs 3,643 crore (provisional) for the year 2016-17.
During Question Hour, he said the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has only given an “in principle approval” for strategic disinvestment of Air India and a committee of specific alternative mechanism has been constituted which has sought suggestions in this regard.
Replying to supplementaries on the proposed sale of state -owned Air India, Raju said the specific alternative mechanism will guide the process of strategic disinvestment from time to time.
The committee is headed by the Finance Minister and has Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.
“This Committee will take a decision as to what has to happen there. As of now, if any suggestion from any quarter are welcome and the Government will definitely take them into consideration.
“The ultimate idea is to make Air India a vibrant airline with a professional management. Without professionalism in the management, there is hardly going to be any improvement in Air India,” the minister told Rajya Sabha.
In reply to a specific query, Raju said only an “in principle approval” has been given on the disinvestment.
“The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA, in its meeting held on June 28, 2017, has given in-principle approval for considering strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries and constitution of Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) to guide the process of strategic disinvestment from time to time,” he said in his written reply.
He also said that Air India has been incurring continuous losses and has huge accumulated losses.
“Niti Ayog in its report on Air India has stated that further financial support in a mature and competitive aviation market would not be the best use of scarce financial resources of the government,” he said.
The airline has been making an operating profit of Rs 105 crore during 2015-16 and Rs 215 crore (provisional) during 2016-17 and as per budget estimates for 2017-18 (provisional) it is projected to make an operating profit of Rs 531 crore, he said in the written reply.
Raju said the government has also taken a number of measures to cut its losses under the turnaround plan.
RBI needs to ensure stability: Shaktikanta Das
New Delhi: The head of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said he would take the steps necessary to maintain financial stability in the country and help create favourable conditions for growth.
India’s economy has grown because of measures such as the nationwide goods and services tax and the insolvency and bankruptcy code that prevents wilful defaulters from bidding for stressed assets, Shaktikanta Das said in his address to an investor roundtable.
The country’s growth story is backed by its strong domestic fundamentals, he said, citing lower inflation.
Annual retail inflation rate dropped to an 18-month low of 2.19 per cent in December, strengthening the views of some economists that the central bank could ease monetary policy next month.
India’s top business groups on Thursday urged the central bank to cut its benchmark interest rate by at least half a percentage point and lower the cash reserve ratio it imposes on banks.
The country also needs to watch out for any sudden turbulence in the gloal financial market, Das said.
Centre removes two PNB executive directors for lapses in Rs 13,500-cr fraud
Chennai:The Central government has removed two Punjab National Bank (PNB) Executive Directors — Sanjiv Sharan and K.Veera Brahmaji Rao — for the lapses in the Rs 13,500 crore fraud allegedly perpetrated by absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi.
The PNB has intimated the action to the stock exchanges.
“We welcome the Central government’s action to dismiss the two Executive Directors. The scam of such proportions could not have happened without the knowledge of the top management,” C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), told IANS.
“Perhaps for the first time, the Centra has removed the Executive Directors of a nationalised bank under the Nationalised Banks (Management and Miscellaneous Provision) Scheme, 1970. All these days it was said the top management of government-owned banks — Chairman, Managing Director, Executive Directors — are governed only by the contract of appointment.
“It is also good that the central government has followed the due process of giving the two PNB Executive Directors opportunity to put forth their views before dismissing them,” Venkatachalam added.
According to the Central government’s notification, on July 3, 2018, Sharan and Rao were issued a show cause notice as to why they could not be removed from office for having failed to exercise proper control over the functioning of PNB, thus enabling the fraud through the misuse of SWIFT at the bank’s Brady House branch in Mumbai.
After considering Sharan and Rao’s replies and the comments of the bank’s Board, the Centre removed them from office as it found it was expedient in the interests of PNB.
According to the notification, the dismissal of Rao is subject to the outcome of a plea in the Delhi High Court.
“We are happy to see some action being taken. Whether it is only the two Executive Directors and other officials are also involved in the scam has to be probed in full,” Venkatachalam said.
According to him, in the past, low-level officers would have been the scapegoats for such massive scams.
“With the action taken on the top management, people will be satisfied that public sector bank officials are answerable for their lapses,” Venkatachalam added.
In this new world, data is the new wealth: Ambani
Mumbai: Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps against ‘data colonisation’, specially by global corporations, stating that Indian data must be owned by Indians.
Invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s movement against political colonisation, Ambani said India now needs a new movement against data colonisation.
“Gandhiji led India’s movement against political colonisation. Today, we have to collectively launch a new movement against data colonisation,” he said Gandhinagar at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.
Stressing that, in this new world, data is the new wealth, Ambani said, “India’s data must be controlled and owned by Indian people and not by corporate, especially global corporations.”
He further said, “For India to succeed in this data driven revolution, we will have to migrate the control and ownership of Indian data back to India. In other words, give Indian wealth back to every Indian.”
Stating that the “entire world has come to recognise” Modi “as a man of action”, Ambani said, “Honorable Prime Minister, am sure you will make this one of the principal goals of your digital India mission.”
Later in the day, countering Ambani’s call, Governor – Commonwealth of Kentucky, Matthew Griswold, asked Modi “to think in the opposite” in order to realise the tremendous opportunity that lies in Indo-US partnership.
“Honorable prime minister you have been asked from this stage to think about limiting the amount of competition, limiting the exchange of ideas, information and goods. I would encourage you to think in the opposite,” he said.
While stating that it is important to put the people of India first, Griswold said, “It is also important to put their opportunity and our opportunity as citizens of the world to trade with one another and exchange ideas because iron sharpens iron.”
The greatest possibility comes from the exchange of these idea, he added.
“If we can cut the regulations, cut the bureaucracy, cut the red tape, the opportunity is enormous between our nations,” he added that India is now the 10th largest trading partner for the US and “climbing quickly”.
“The opportunity before us between India and the United States is incredible, but responsibility falls on each of one us, those of us in elected positions, those of you in the industry, those of you who represent various constituencies, we have much work to do…we must do this, ” Griswold said.