It was only due to Air India that the Centre was able to repatriate Indians during the COVID-19 pandemic, and though it needs an overhaul it should not be privatised, said Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Dinesh Trivedi on Tuesday.
"I must compliment the government for bringing back a lot of Indians from abroad under Vande Bharat Mission. And who did it? It was Air India. You can change the structure of Air India if you want but please do not sell it. Air India hai to 'Hindustan' hai," Trivedi said in the Rajya Sabha.
"I have nothing against the private sector, but if Air India would not have been there then the private airlines wouldn't have been there," he added.
The TMC MP further said that for the civil aviation to develop the Aircraft Act, 1934 should be completely changed and repeated amendments would do bring little benefits.
"Aircraft Act, 1934 should be completely changed so that India can develop," Trivedi said.
BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao, introducing the amendments to the Act had earlier said that India was the fastest-growing civil aviation sector in the world.
Earlier in August, the Central government had extended the deadline for expression of interest for proposed strategic disinvestment of Air India for two months till October 30, in view of the prevailing situation due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The earlier last date for expression of interest, as per the seventh corrigendum issued on June 25, 2020, was till 5 pm on August 31. The government has initiated the process of divesting its share from Air India and is looking for suitable bidders.
( With inputs from ANI )
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