In her Union Budget 2021-22 speech on February 1, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had set an ambitious divestment target of Rs 1.75 crore.
The Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA), the pilots’ union of national carrier Air India on May 4 demanded the airline’s management to vaccinate all flying crew above 18 years of age on priority.
The pilot’s body, in a statement, warned it will stop work if the demand was not met. Moneycontrol has seen a copy of the statement.
"If Air India fails to set up vaccination camps on a Pan India basis for the flying crew above the age of 18 years on priority, we will stop work," the union said.
T Praveen Keerthi, general secretary of ICPA, raised the issue with Air India Director R S Sandhu, claiming that the management has left the flying crew vulnerable.
In its statement, the union said with no healthcare support to the flying crew, no insurance, and a massive opportunistic pay cut pilots are in no position to continue risking their lives without vaccination.
The demand from the pilot's body comes at a time when India has been struggling with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic as hospitals in several states are reeling under a severe shortage of drugs, oxygen and beds.
Air India has been operating flights since the lockdown was partially lifted last year, bringing in Indian nationals stranded abroad during the pandemic. They also ferried supplies of medication and hospital equipment, including personal protective equipment kits and other items -- to remote corners of the country.
The Indian government has opened up vaccination drives for those above the age of 18. However, several hospitals across the country are either struggling with vaccine slots or stock.
The union added that many of its members have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are struggling to get oxygen cylinders.
Last week, around 30 people on board Air India's Amritsar-Rome flight
were found positive for COVID-19 on arrival, with at least two of the 30 people being flight crew members.
On May 4, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India rose to 2.028 crore as of 0800 IST today, with 357,229 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, according to health ministry data.
The number of active cases rose by 33,491 in the past 24 hours. The total number of active cases now stands at 34.47 lakhs.
So far, the virus has claimed 222,408 lives, while 1.66 crore people have recovered. The total number of people who have been vaccinated reached 15.89 crore.