Govt seeks Parliament’s nod for ₹ 980 cr equity infusion into Air India

RSTV Bureau
File photo of an Air India aircraft.

File photo of an Air India aircraft.

The government on Tuesday sought Parliament’s approval for ₹ 980 crore as supplementary grant for equity infusion in Air India, which is grappling with a mega financial crunch.

The amount is part of the total gross additional expenditure of Rs 11,697.92 crore, for which approval has been sought from the Parliament.

The grant has been sought as part of equity infusion into Air India under the Turnaround Plan (TAP), as per the document tabled in the Lok Sabha for supplementary demand for grants for 2018-19.

“Taking into account the surrender of savings available in the revenue section of the grant, the … expenditure (Rs 980 crore) will not entail any additional cash outgo,” it added.

The grant has been sought under the Civil Aviation Ministry.

As per the document, the net cash outgo totals Rs 5,951,22 crore and gross additional expenditure aggregates to Rs 5,745.68 crore.

Besides, the government has sought a token provision of Rs 1.02 crore for enabling re-appropriation of savings in cases of new service or new instrument of service.

The government’s proposed strategic stake sale of Air India failed to take off in May but remains committed to the disinvestment.

Last week, the ministry said Air India has received Rs 27,195.21 crore worth equity infusion under the TAP and Financial Restructuring Plan (FRP) approved back in 2012.

In the current financial year, the state-owned airline received an equity infusion of Rs 650 crore up to June.

TAP and a Financial Restructuring Plan (FRP) were approved for Air India by the previous UPA regime in 2012.

All government guaranteed loans and interests thereon are being paid by the government by way of equity infusion into the airline.

Under the FRP, high cost of working capital loans have been converted into long term debt carrying lesser rates of interest so as to reduce the financial burden on Air India.

“The TAP/ FRP includes budgetary support amounting to Rs 30,231 crore spread over 10 years ie. up to FY 2020-21 and also equity support for the payment of principal/ interest of the non-convertible debentures.

“Air India has received an equity infusion of Rs 27,195.21 crore till date,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told the Lok Sabha last week.

At the end of March 2017, the national carrier had a debt burden of more than Rs 48,000 crore.

(With inputs from PTI)