The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade(DPIIT) has notified a decision of the union cabinet to allow non-resident Indians (NRIs) to control up to 100 per cent stake in disinvestment-bound Air India. The FDI policy earlier permitted NRIs to take only 49 per cent stake in the airline. In its press note, the DPIIT said: “Foreign investments in Air India including that of foreign airlines shall not exceed 49 per cent either directly or indirectly except in case of thoseNRIs, who are Indian Nationals, where foreign investment is permitted up to 100 per cent under automatic route”.
On March 4, the cabinet had taken a decision in this regard.The decision came at a time when the government has sought preliminary bids for 100 per cent stake sale in the national carrier. It also said that the condition that substantial ownership and effective control (SOEC) of Air India shall continue to be vested in Indian nationals.
An official statement has earlier stated that in light of the proposed strategic disinvestment of 100 per cent of Air India by the government, it has been decided that foreign investment in Air India be brought on a level-playing field with other scheduled airline operators.
The national carrier will have no residual government ownership and will be completely privately owned. Under the SOEC framework, which is followed in the airline industry globally, a carrier that flies overseas from a particular countryshould be substantially owned by that country’s government or its nationals.
Source: Economic Times