RSS trade union opposes sale of Air India

Privatization does not free the government from its responsibilities, the BMS said

An Air India flight An Air India flight

A day after the government announced sale of 100 per cent stake in national carrier Air India, an RSS trade union—Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh—opposed the move, saying it was playing in the hands of private players.

“The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh urge the government to think hundred times before going for the disinvestment of Air India,” the Sangh trade union said in a statement. 

The BMS said public sector undertakings have been the driver of growth and value creation, however, they were being sold in the name of resource mobilization to fund social spending. 

“We hold a strong view that selling PSU to private players is not going to help the government in mobilizing resources and funding social spending because privatization does not free the government from its responsibilities,” the BMS said.  

The trade union argued that in the past there were 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 privatization of profit and socialization 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 said.

The body said in the aviation sector in which one after another private players have failed to make a mark, Kingfisher being the most glaring example.

The Sangh body argued that the government should look at the role of PSUs differently from the private ones. “Judging performance of the public sector units solely on the basis of the monetary profit and loss is a wrong practice. The aims and objectives of these PSEs are different from those of the private sector enterprises...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,” BMS said.