Govt working to boost Air India’s operational efficiency: Goyal

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 25, 2018 Published on June 25, 2018

Wooing investments Finance Minister Piyush Goyal (right) with Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Subhash Chandra Garg, at a press conference in Mumbai on Monday

India looking for funds from AIIB for nine more projects, says FinMin

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday said the government will focus on improving Air India’s operational efficiency and management practices. But the proposed strategic disinvestment of the national carrier will depend on international conditions, he said.

“In the next 18 months, you will see a visible change,” he told reporters.

While he did not give a timeline for the stake-sale, he said the proposal is still on the table.

Goyal’s comments come after the Centre’s proposed 76-per cent stake sale in Air India failed to generate any bids, the deadline for which was May 31.

Goyal said India is looking for funds from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for nine more projects that require an investment of $2.4 billion. These will include four private sector projects that require funding of $860 million.

India is already the largest recipient of funds from AIIB and has picked up almost 28 per cent of the bank’s total lending so far of $1.4 billion for seven projects.

“AIIB has focused its investment in India on lending to rural infrastructure, energy and power, environmental protection, transportation and telecommunication, water supply and sanitation and urban development and logistics,” Goyal said at a press conference after the third annual meeting of the AIIB.

The Minister also highlighted the country’s liberalised policies for improved investments. “India is a sweet spot where the rule of law prevails to attract investments,” he said. Goyal, who is also the Railway Minister, expressed confidence that there will not be “any stress” in getting land for the ambitious bullet train project as the government was offering increased compensation now.

“Environmental and social impact studies have either been completed or are near completion. I personally don’t see any stress in getting the land (for the project),” he told reporters here on the sidelines of the summit.

Meanwhile, addressing a seminar at the AIIB earlier in the day, Goyal said about $ 4.5 trillion worth of investments will be required for infrastructure creation over the next decade. However, the cost of the money will be a challenge, he said.

Published on June 25, 2018
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