New Delhi: Air India disinvestment is on track, DIPAM Secretary Atanu Chakraborty has said. “On June 18, 2018, taking note of circumstances in which no bid was received on EOI/PIM floated on March 28, 2018, for strategic disinvestment of Air India, AISAM (Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism) categorically stated ‘govt remains committed to the strategic disinvestment of AI and its subsidiaries’,” Chakraborty tweeted on Thursday night.

“It may be noted that the disinvestment of one of the subsidiaries of AI, AIATSL got underway with its EOI/PIM published on 12.2.2019,” he said in another tweet. The tweet came in the form of a clarification to correct comments earlier in the day by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri, who told Parliament that conditions were still not right to attempt another sale.

“The present environment is not conducive to stimulate interest amongst investors for strategic disinvestment of Air India in the immediate near future,” Puri said in Parliament, adding that the government would revisit the sale once global economic conditions become more favourable.

The Civil aviation Ministry also issued a statement to correct the comments.

“Continued support from the government has resulted in the improvement of financial and operational performances of Air India. As per the recommendations of the AISAM, the government will now go ahead with the process of disinvestment of the company,” the Ministry said.

Later the ministry cleared the confusion and also tweeted “in an AISAM Meeting held in June 2018, it was decided that due to issues like volatile crude oil prices and adverse fluctuations in exchange rates, the atmosphere was not conducive for the disinvestment. But this was last year”.

The plan for disinvestment of Air India had last year failed to sell a 76 per cent stake due to a lack of interest from bidders, but said it would return with an alternative proposal soon.

In a meeting on June 28, 2017, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had in-principle approved the consideration for strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries.

The AISAM was constituted by the CCEA for this. Preliminary information memorandum for the strategic disinvestment of Air India was issued on June 28, 2018. However, at that time, no EOI/bids were received by the last date of May 31, 2018.