New Delhi, Jan 28 : Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the trade union affiliated to the RSS, on Tuesday strongly opposed the selling of Air India and asked the government to "think over this decision a hundred times".
"Ever since inception, public sector undertakings have been the driver of growth and value creation. Perhaps they are the only enterprises in India that fulfilled all the objectives laid out according to the Industrial Policy Resolution of 1956. It is unfortunate that they are being sold in the name of resource mobilisation to fund social spending", the BMS said in a statement.
The BMS's response came days after the government invited bids for a 100 per cent stake in Air India, and had set end of March as deadline for potential buyers to submit their initial expression of interest. The right wing trade union further said that it holds a strong view that selling PSU to private players is not going to help the government in mobilising resources and funding social spending because privatisation does not free the government from its responsibilities.
"We need to acknowledge that there are certain sectors in which both public as well private sector enterprises are not being able to perform and there are cases in which private players failed to generate own resources, they simply took the money in form of loans from the banks (many in the public sector) and then they failed to repay the loan deepening non-performing asset crisis", it added. Criticising further, the BMS said, there are multiple instances in which the government used the tax-payers’ money to bail out either private business or banks. "It is an indirect way of funding private business, who, when in profit, shares nothing more than the taxes to the government. It is a classic case of the privatisation of profit and socialisation of loss. This is why we conclude that the idea of selling PSUs is a way to save tax-payers’ money and create resources for social spending is a flawed one", it added. Taking the examples of grounded airline services, the RSS labour wing also said "these arguments get more currency when we are talking of the aviation sector in which one after another private players have failed to make a mark, Kingfisher being the most glaring example".
It also stated that judging performance of the public sector units solely on the basis of the monetary profit and loss is a wrong practice, as the aims and objectives of the PSEs are different from those of the private sector enterprises. "PSEs are to serve the nation, to create decent jobs, decent living standards, decent consumption and responsible social behavior. While calculating profit and loss of Air India we need to think of the fact that Air India has been operating many of the low-profit or loss-making routes only to serve the passenger and connecting people with one another promoting national unity - in which any private player will not be operating", the BMS said.
The trade union body further warned that privatisation of Air India can have a cascading impact, like many of those airports which will lose the flight may face further crises, many of the emerging cities may face the crisis of connectivity etc. "Keeping these issues in mind Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh urge the government to think hundred times before going for the disinvestment of Air India", it added. Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India (CPI) also expressed its strong opposition to the decision of the government to sell 100 per cent of its stake in Air India, the flagship airline of our country. "This also confirms once again the policy of the present BJP government to privatise the profits and nationalise the losses", it said in a press release. (UNI)