Air India should be run by an Indian firm, says RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said on Monday Air India should be handed over to an Indian company and foreign investors should not be allowed to participate in the national carrier’s disinvestment.

“If the problem is that Air India has not been run properly, hand it over to someone who can do it and it should only be an Indian firm,” he said.

He gave examples of countries like Germany, which protect their airline industry from foreign participation.

“No country would accept losing dominance over its skies,” he added.

Speaking at an event organised at the BSE, Bhagwat said it was unfair to call the airline debt-ridden because it had a lot of tangible and intangible assets.

The RSS chief also expressed reservations over the government’s idea of creating a cashless economy. He said no matter how much evolution happens in technology, India could never become a fully cashless economy.

Bhagwat addressed a 500-member gathering comprising stock market participants, brokers and fund managers.

“Creating a cashless economy is a thought with good intentions but the idea has certain limitations. Hence such ideas may not yield benefits as anticipated. India can always become less-cash but not cashless,” Bhagwat said.

Speaking on the long-term perspective of the Indian economy, Bhagwat said policymakers should look beyond ideologies such as socialism or capitalism and also beyond economic indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP) growth and fiscal deficit.

He added India needed a balance between agriculture, industry and commerce, and a modern economic strategy to become a leader in the global economy.
“For the past few decades we have been measuring our growth based on western models. These methodologies have serious flaws. India should put together its own model for development, which should be based on the idea of empowerment of all,” Bhagwat added.

NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar, who was present at the event, expressed similar views about economic development. In his speech, Kumar said, “Our growth would be meaningless if it is not inclusive.” Brushing aside concerns about the economy, Kumar said India was currently on the cusp of a high-growth trajectory.

Bhagwat and Kumar were speaking at the launch of the book Indian Economy and Economic Policies: A Long Term Perspective, published by Vivek Samuh, an RSS affiliate.

Market participants who attended the event sounded positive on Bhagwat’s remarks.

“The idea of development is making the lives of people better and more prosperous. In order to achieve it, we should be open to exploring all kinds of ideas,” said Motilal Oswal, managing director, Motilal Oswal Financial Services.business-standard.c

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