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Sunday, July 15, 2018

PMO to examine Jet-Etihad deal after MPs raise concerns

A meeting has been called by the Cabinet Secretary to discuss the PMO’s concerns

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: July 2, 2013 2:35:37 am

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has raised concerns over the clearance of the Jet Airways-Etihad deal,following the concerns that parliamentarians had expressed earlier.

Sources said that the concerns have been raised over the three-fold increase in bilateral entitlements,impact of the deal on other Indian airlines mainly Air India.

“The issue will be discussed in a meeting called by the Cabinet Secretary on Tuesday. The meeting has been called to discuss the various concerns raised by the PMO,” said a source close to the development. The PMO has sought clarifications from the ministries of civil aviation,commerce,and finance.

The Jet-Etihad deal has been opposed by parliamentarians across party lines. Several issues have been flagged by Jaswant Singh of the BJP,Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool Congress and Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy.

The Parliamentary standing committee on civil aviation,headed by CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury,in its meetings with civil aviation ministry officials had raised the issue of bilaterals.

Jaswant Singh has said that the deal between Jet Airways and Etihad compromises national security and the current government should look at it before clearing the deal.

“The armed forces of the country have the authority,in times of emergency,to ask for services from any commercial airline in the country. Can we take the services of Jet Airways,in case of emergencies? The airline will be in foreign hands and I have my doubts,if they will respond as required,” Singh told The Indian Express.

Singh in his letter to the Prime Minister had said,“The deal was announced on the day the Indian government increased the current bilateral entitlements between the two nations. Does it not point towards collusion,which should never happen?”

After the deal,Jet Airways’ place of business shifts to Abu Dhabi and will be run by committees stationed there. The Indian Express first reported in June that the civil aviation ministry raised concerns over this issue and feels that the airline may not respond to government’s request in case of an emergency.

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