Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday said the government has not taken any decision on Air India so far and the final winner will be selected through a well defined process. “I have been in Dubai since…day before and I don’t think there is any such decision that has happened at all. Of course bids were invited…and that is assessed by the officers and in due course of time, there is a whole well laid down process through which the final winner will selected,” he told reporters here.
He was replying to a question about media reports stating Tatas have emerged as the top bidder for the takeover of debt-laden Air India.
Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary to Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) — the government department responsible for privatisation — had said in a tweet on Friday that the Centre has so far not approved any financial bid for Air India. “Media reports indicating approval of financial bids by Government of India in the AI disinvestment case are incorrect. Media will be informed of the Government’s decision as and when it is taken,” he tweeted.
When asked about the proposed free trade agreement with the UAE, the minister said there are lot of opportunities for Indian businesses in sectors such as textiles, gems and jewellery, pharma and healthcare. There is tremendous potential in both goods and services. On investments, he said “we have to encourage Indian businesses to engage with the UAE.”
Goyal said businesses in the UAE have shown keen interest in India. “We will have to encourage more Indian businesses to engage…Everyone who met me wanted to be partners in infrastructure development initiatives, they are very keen to look at the asset monetisation programme, they are keen to partner with India on promoting tourism,” he said.
The minister noted that a lot of potential is available for Indian businesses who are dealing with the UAE in high technology work like providing software services. “The UAE has good potential offerings for India. Investment is one big area where we can work in a big way….the UAE has over the years developed capabilities in industries where low cost energy can help India get quality products at very attractive prices,” Goyal said.
He inaugurated the Indian Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 on October 1 here. Further, Vikramjit Sahney, Member of India-UAE Joint Working Group on Energy, said the expo will further foster economic and cultural bondage between the two countries.
“Early conclusion of the free trade agreement between India and the UAE will boost trade and investments. Abu Dhabi investment authority is investing over USD one billion in low cost affordable housing and various infrastructure projects in India. There is tremendous potential to be unleashed between the two countries,” Sahney added.
Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President A Sakthivel, who was here for the expo, said the trade agreement between the two sides will further promote economic ties and provide opportunities for domestic exporters in the UAE. Meanwhile, according to an official twitter handle of Consulate General of India – India in Dubai, the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, will light up in the honour of the 152nd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi tonight.