PM assures on Air India salaries (Lead)

August 3rd, 2011 - 2:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday admitted that Air India was facing “serious difficulties” but said that the government would find “ways and means” to pay pending dues to the employees of the national carrier.

“That Air India is in serious difficulties is an open secret,” Manmohan Singh told the Lok Sabha, intervening during the question hour.

The government was asked what it was doing to pull the national carrier out of the financial crisis and pay its employees their salaries pending since June and performance-linked incentives pending since May.

“Air India doesn’t have resources to pay the salaries. But the government will find the ways and means to pay the wages of Air India employees soon,” the prime minister replied.

Manmohan Singh had to intervene because a reply from Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy - who answered because Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi had a bad throat - did not satisfy the members.

A ruckus followed for a brief period before the prime minister assured the house that the government was looking into the problem.

He said a group of ministers was ascertaining what could be done to get Air India back on the track.

Yashodhara Raje Scindia of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said she was told by some Air India employees that many among them had not paid their EMIs for months.

“Mr. Minister if you take a car loan or housing (loan), will the bank wait for your salary to come?” Scindia said, addressing Ravi.

Air India pilots who fly domestic get Rs.4 lakh every month, of which 80 percent is performance-linked incentives. Pilots who fly international get a fixed gross salary of Rs.5 lakh.

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