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Congress, CPI-M question government over Air India divestment 

New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) The Congress and the CPI-M on Wednesday slammed the Narendra Modi governments move to divest its 49 per cent stake in Air India and allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in single-brand retail.

Congress leader and former Union Minister Anand Sharma said the government should come clear on the Air India deal as to whether the national carrier’s assets “worth lakhs of crores of rupees” and its route rights would also be transferred to the investor. 

Sharma said the UPA government had consciously kept Air India out of the purview of FDI though it had allowed 49 per cent FDI in the civil aviation sector.

“It is true that the national carrier has faced challenges, but so have other airlines. We have to examine the government’s decision closely. Whether it also allows foreign carriers (to invest), which presumably is the case, then it raises some fundamental questions,” Sharma said.

“Air India has assets worth lakhs and lakhs of crores (of rupees) in India and abroad. The government needs to inform the country what this policy will do. Don’t want a situation where Air India is sold for a song and all bilateral route rights are gone with that,” he added.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) also strongly opposed the decision to allow “foreign airlines” to invest up to 49 per cent in Air India. 

“Having taken the decision to privatise Air India, the Modi government is now moving towards handing over Air India to a foreign airline. 

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