Moneycontrol
Oct 11, 2016 11:38 AM IST | Source: PTI

Lohani rues lack of level-playing field for Air India

His remarks come at a time when clamour continues in certain quarters that Air India -- which is surviving on a Rs 30,000 crore bailout package spread over 10 years -- should be privatised.


Ruing lack of level-playing field in competing with private airlines, Air India chief Ashwani Lohani today pitched for a "course correction", saying the complex world of the public sector is no match before the output-oriented universe of the private players.


Lohani, who has been at the helm of the struggling national carrier, also said "hindsight is much less at work in the private as opposed to the public sector".


His remarks come at a time when clamour continues in certain quarters that Air India -- which is surviving on a Rs 30,000 crore bailout package spread over 10 years -- should be privatised.


"Often my airline is questioned on its inability to match the private sector on various operating parameters, and this is unfortunately always done without due appreciation of the fundamental reality that there is no level-playing field," Lohani said in a blog.


According to him, the decision-making processes, the contractual mechanisms, the checks and balances and the clarity in the mind of the owner are all widely different.


He also emphasised that the complex world of the public sector is no match in front of the simple output-oriented universe of the private.


Noting that "hindsight" is much less at work in the private sector compared to the public entities, Lohani wondered: "Does it imply that the public sector should be sold off, disposed to the private sector just because of our inability to change the ground rules and provide an almost level-playing field to it?"

The Air India chief said further: "Should it be sold merely because of lack of administrative leadership fuelled by inadequacies in the process of selection of its top executives? A course correction is the need of the hour, for contrary to what many may think, the public sector has still not lost its relevance in entirety." On why the public sector cannot be allowed to operate and prosper like the private sector may perhaps always remain unanswered, he added.


"Unless and until we all, and that includes the mighty government machinery, start believing in the supremacy of deliverance over everything else, such dilemmas would always continue," Lohani said.

"Why process has started taking overriding precedence over deliverance in a nation like ours that still has miles and miles to go is indeed beyond my comprehension."

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