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PSBs Have Kept Public Interest in Mind, Says Arun Jaitley on Decision Regarding Jet Airways

The banks have kept public interest in mind, Jaitley further added, considering India needs more airlines and aircraft as the number of passengers communicating through flights is increasing.

News18.com

Updated:March 25, 2019, 8:46 PM IST
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PSBs Have Kept Public Interest in Mind, Says Arun Jaitley on Decision Regarding Jet Airways
File photo of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. (Image: PTI)

New Delhi: Defending the huge financial resources pumped by public sector banks into the crisis-hit Jet Airways, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said that he was happy that the banks had served public interest through their move.

Addressing a press conference in the capital on Monday evening, Jaitley said, “This is a decision which creditors have taken. Creditors, most of who are PSUs [Public Sector Undertakings] have kept a legitimate self-interest and public-interest in mind.”

He added, “The self-interest of the banks is that the company must survive so that their investments remain, and when it prospers they get their monies back. Their debt can be serviced.”

The banks have kept public interest in mind, Jaitley further added, considering India needs more airlines and aircraft as the number of passengers communicating through flights is increasing.

So if there are fewer airlines and fewer aircraft it will lead to an increase in tariff which will hurt the consumers, Jaitley argued. “So I’m happy that the creditors have kept both these considerations in mind which reflect their concern for larger public interest,” the finance minister said.

The debt resolution plan worked out by the banks is being seen as a desperate move by the government to avoid thousands of job losses just before the country votes its next government to power.

Naresh Goyal, who is quitting as chairman of Jet Airways under a debt resolution plan, in a statement issued late evening said, “For the sake of my family of 22,000 employees and their respective families, I have today taken the step of stepping down from the board of Jet Airways.”

Jet reportedly owes money to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors - several of whom have started terminating leases with the carrier, to the tune of $1 billion.

SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar said Goyal will be eligible to bid for takeover of one of the oldest private carrier when the lenders auction it next month.

State Bank of India, which is the leader of the group of lenders, will next month invite Expression of Interest from buyers willing to takeover the airline and will finalise the investor by May end, he said.

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