There will be no hasty decision on privatisation of Air India, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati today indicated, saying all issues will be examined and the new government is "not close to any idea".
"There are private airlines and there is a public sector company. Public sector does have a place and a lot of countries have public sector companies. As of now, we are trying to formulate our views," Pusapati told his maiden press conference, hours after taking charge of office.
"I am not close to any idea," he said when repeatedly asked whether he would favour privatisation of the state-run airline.
Later, he also said the state-run companies "in several countries do function rather well. Somehow for us, it has not happened that way ... but we have to examine all aspects... Air India is a public sector undertaking. It has its pluses and minuses. How to develop it, we have to look into."
Asked whether the new dispensation would probe all decisions taken by the previous UPA-II government, Pusapati said, "There is no point in dissecting or doing a post-mortem.
We have to first formulate our own thinking about the issues."
However, the minister also pointed out that the previous government had "made a lot of commitments" in a variety of areas. "If anyone has to honour all those commitments, then there should have been no change in the government.
He said several airlines were under financial stress, but the country needs more airlines. "Let us see if anything the government can do to correct this situation. We have to be of use to them. We are open to suggestions from all quarters."
Soon after taking over, he said, "We will strive to create a level-playing field for all the players and make the aviation sector more people-oriented."
Asked about loss-making airports run by Airports Authority of India (AAI), 63-year-old Pusapati said, "Profitability is one angle, connectivity is another. We will take a balanced view."
Terming the civil aviation sector as major infrastructure, he said though there were several important issues concerning the sector, safety and improving connectivity were among the top-most priorities.
After he stressed that he would bring about transparency in the functioning of the ministry and the decision-making processes, he was asked whether he would look into charges of corruption in various departments during the previous government's tenure.
"At the general