The National Carrier

I saw a newspaper headline today about Air India. The state owned airline requires INR 40,000 crores of capital infusion to get going all over again. Currently it functions in a shrunken form, playing second fiddle to a host of private sector airlines that commenced the other day.

Why aren't our parliamentarians asking the question what good will come of this? Nor is this question being asked by the popular media. A few opinion page articles in pink papers questioning the airline's existence compares with the hysterical obsession of the media on wealth found in the Travancore temple. Politicians and opinion makers have shown alacrity in claiming the temple's wealth (passionately collected and defended by its keepers for centuries), as that of the people. But they don't care about the tens of thousands of crores thrown into the public sector entities such as Air India. And now throwing good money after the bad.

Think about the hundred(s) thousand schools in rural India without teachers. This money could get them teachers. This money could get potable water, or basic healthcare, or security where none exists.

India runs a huge fiscal deficit. It spends a great deal of money in its social programs that are pro-poor. And it spends beyond its means. Government admits to large scale pilferage and attempts have been there to do something about it. Not with spectacular success yet. In this background, where every penny counts, why do we want get involved in maintaining behemoths that are not social or security programs? Why? Is it for the compassion felt for the employees of these organisations, or the benefits these organisations confer to the powers that be?

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