Government Owes Rs 325 Crore To Cash Strapped Air India With Bills Pending For VVIP Chartered Flights
An RTI reply has revealed that government owes Air India, which is already running low on funds, an amount of more than Rs 325 crore in the unpaid bills for VVIP chartered flights to foreign countries.
The RTI was filed by RTI activist and retired naval officer, Commodore Lokesh Batra. In the response to the RTI, the national carrier, which is on the brink of being privatised, provided the breakup of the outstanding bills on March 8.
As on January 31, Govt owed Air India an amount of Rs 325.81 crore
Air India customizes its commercial jets to chartered aircraft for overseas visits of VVIPs like the President, the Vice President and the Prime Minister, to suit their needs.
As on January 31, 2018, the pending bills amounted to Rs 325.81 crore, out of which Rs 84.01 crore were carried forward from the previous financial year and the remaining Rs 241.8 crore was generated this year.
As per the response to the RTI, the foreign ministry had the largest outstanding bill which stood at Rs 178.55 crore. The Cabinet Secretariat and Prime Minister Office owed Air India Rs 128.84 crore and the defence ministry owed an amount of Rs 18.42 crore.
Out of the total outstanding bill of Rs 1004.72 crore, an amount of Rs 451.71 crore was carried forward and bill of Rs 553.01 crore was generated this year. Of the bill of Rs 1004.72 crore, the government made a payment of Rs 678.91 crore this year. This amount included Rs 367.70 crore paid towards Rs 451.71 crore bills carried forward from last year and Rs 311.23 crore paid towards bills of Rs 533.01 crore that was generated this year. After the payment, the pending bills stood at Rs 325.81 crore as on January 2018.
Outstanding bills of Rs 346.946 crore as on December 31
It is reported that in a separate response dated March 5, the Civil Aviation Ministry has said the total outstanding bill stood at Rs 346.946 crore as on December 31, 2017. This amount included the outstanding bills of Rs 20.66 crore towards services offered to visit dignitaries and evacuation missions.
The March 5 reply provided a break-up of pending bills out of which Rs 8 crore were from President’s flights, Rs 198.254 crore from Vice-President’s flights and that from Prime Minister’s were Rs 118.724 crore.
A bill of Rs 11.594 crore was pending on the flights used for evacuations from Cairo, Iraq and Malta (of Indian citizens stuck in Libya) between 2011 and 2014. A fuel bill of Rs 23 crore towards the September 2005 flight to the US, which carried relief materials for Hurricane Katrina remained pending with the Defence Ministry.
The March 5 response also said that bills of Rs 9.376 crore towards travel by visiting dignitaries, including heads of state remained pending as well.