“If you think you’re leading and no one is following you, then you’re only taking a walk.” ― Afghan Proverb” 


EDITORIAL 12 : “Making Air India’s disinvestment work”


Jitender Bhargava

Former executive director of Air India


Making Air India’s disinvestment work

The government needs to totally exit the carrier, allowing the acquirer full freedom to transform the embattled airline

What is disinvestment? Does this hold good with Air India in the present context ? Comment -(GS 3)

GS 3:Air transport:RCS:UDAN

Understand the pros and cons of disinvestment. How this will help the country in the present context and how it is not .

This article deeply criticises the action and policy framework of disinvestment too. Lets dive in !


Disinvestment is the action of an organization or government selling or liquidating an asset or subsidiary. Absent the sale of an asset, disinvestment also refers to capital expenditure reductions, which can facilitate the re-allocation of resources to more productive areas within an organization or government-funded project.





The once-iconic Air India has, in the last four decades, witnessed a calamitous fall. The diminution had been gradual when it operated in a near-monopoly environment but the pace of descent intensified when it faced competition.


  • Since late 90’s Bureaucratic shenanigans and the role of a private airline promoter who saw in a resurgent Air India competition for his then-fledgling airline.
  • Had the disinvestment efforts succeeded, Air India would have today been a professionally managed successful airline.


  • Acquisition of aircraft in numbers far more than what it could afford or gainfully deploy; and the merger with Indian Airlines, which was scripted to fail from the word go.
  • Competitively, the airline was also placed on a weaker wicket due to a liberal doling out of seats by the then administration to foreign airlines (the matter is under investigation by both the CBI and Enforcement Directorate), allowing them to dominate the Indian skies.


  • The lack of a strategic and operational direction within the airline — decided to focus on a financial package.
  • This was like applying a fresh coat of paint to a crumbling house.



  • The bailout package of over ₹30,000 crore, which is being infused over an eight-year span ending 2021, has not helped Air India evolve into a robust carrier.


  1. The induction of a professional management with an effective leadership,
  2. Asound financial package
  3. Minimal political interference in its day-to-day operations
  4. and unions allowing changes in work conditions and pay packages.

 2017 DEAL :

  • Niti Aayog recommended disinvestment but the government, in its wisdom, decided to not only retain 24% equity, it also wanted the acquirer to absorb a major chunk of the non-aircraft related debt.
  • The simple logic that a proposal for sale has to suit the acquirer as much as the seller was conveniently overlooked and the offer found no takers.


  • Driven by the Centre’s anxiety : The disinvestment process is largely driven by the Centre’s anxiety to get rid of the airline, so that it can spare itself of the responsibility of further infusion of funds.
  • Finding a potential bidder : Besides playing to its strengths, the government ought to — if it is sincere about making the exercise a success — ensure that it exits totally, giving freedom to the potential acquirer to transform it into a successful player.
  • Cost : The cost of further infusion of funds if the exercise is allowed to fail mustn’t be overlooked.
  • Marketting skills : To evoke interest in a product that still commands a sizeable market share and has an extensive global network that no other Indian carrier can match, the government also needs marketing skills.


The unfortunate reality is that major stakeholders are being kept in the dark.

  • Marginalisation : The threat of marginalisation can be the biggest and single most reason for convincing any naysayer.
  • Capacity Augmentation Capacity augmentation is undertaken at a frenetic pace by private airlines which cannot simply be matched by funds-starved Air India.
  • Addressing grievances : not paying attention to the legitimate grievances. For example: medical related concerns of serving and retired employees even though disinvestment has been in the works for three years now.


       IASbhai  Windup:  

The disinvestment exercise this time is thought of wisely, pursued with determination, and is successful, because with it is linked the prospect of transforming Air India into a robust carrier that we all can justifiably be proud of once again.

The stakes are high because failure will mean doom through further marginalisation.

EDITORIAL 13 : “Battling anti-microbial resistance”



Battling anti-microbial resistance

India must accelerate implementation of its National Action Plan on anti-microbial resistance

India must accelerate implementation of its National Action Plan on anti-microbial resistance. Comment -(GS 3)

GS 3:Systems biology and medicine:Anti-microbial resistance

What is anti-microbial resistance? You will also see pros and cons of National Action plan have been beautifully laid down in this article.


In November, the world observed Antibiotic Awareness Week


Antibiotics save lives and are critical tools for treating a number of common and more serious infections, like those that can lead to sepsis. However, the antibiotics in Indian outpatient settings are prescribed unnecessarily. Any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance, one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health.




In its fight against the growing problem of resistance to antibiotics in disease-causing germs, the Indian government banned the manufacture, sale and use of COLISTIN in the poultry industry.


What is Colistin ?

Also known as polymyxin E, is an antibiotic used as a last-resort for multidrug-resistant Gram negative infections including pneumonia.


  •  Colistin is considered the last-resort medicine to treat a person with life-threatening infection.
  • The government’s move is among the numerous steps that will contribute to global efforts to preserve and prolong the efficacy of antibiotics and prevent the world from moving towards a dark, post-antibiotic future.


  • Antibiotics have saved millions of lives till date.
  • Unfortunately, they are now becoming ineffective as many infectious diseases have ceased to respond to antibiotics.
  • In their quest for survival and propagation, common bugs develop a variety of mechanisms to develop antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The indiscriminate use of antibiotics is the greatest driver in selection and propagation of resistant bugs.


  • It has the potential to make fatal even minor infections.
  • Complex surgeries such as organ transplantation and cardiac bypass might become difficult to undertake because of untreatable infectious complications that may result post-surgery.


  • The pipeline for the discovery, development and dissemination of new antibiotics has virtually dried out.
  • No new class of antibiotics has been discovered in the past three decades.
  • REASON? Availability of a new antibiotic takes 10-12 years and an investment of $1 billion.
  • Once it comes into the market, its indiscriminate use swiftly results in resistance, rendering it useless.


  • The resistance to antibiotics in germs is a man-made disaster.
  • Irresponsible use of antibiotics is rampant in human health, animal health, fisheries, and agriculture.
  • While in humans antibiotics are primarily used for treating patients, they are used as growth promoters in animals, often because they offer economic shortcuts that can replace hygienic practices.
  • Globally, use of antibiotics in animals is expected to increase by 67% by 2030 from 2010 levels.



  • Inter-country development agencies (WHO, FAO, and World Organisation for Animal Health) developed a Global Action Plan on AMR.
  • India developed its National Action Plan on AMR (NAP) in 2017.
  • It is based on the One Health approach, which means that human health, animal health and the environment sectors have equal responsibilities and strategic actions in combating AMR.


       IASbhai  Windup:  
  • The health of humans and animals falls in the domain of State authorities, and this adds complexity to the nationwide response.
  • The magnitude of the problem in India remains unknown.
  • Surveillance networks have been established in human health and animal health.
  • The FAO has assisted India in forging the Indian Network for Fishery and Animals Antimicrobial Resistance for the generation of reliable data on the magnitude of the problem and monitoring trends in response to control activities.
  • There is an urgent need to augment capacity for regulatory mechanisms, infection control practices and diagnostics support, availability and use of guidelines for therapy, biosecurity in animal rearing practices and understanding the role of the environment and the engagement of communities.
  • For this, the world must launch a global movement to contain AMR.
Improving the way healthcare professionals prescribe antibiotics, and the way we take antibiotics, helps keep us healthy now, helps fight antibiotic resistance, and ensures that these lifesaving drugs will be available for future generations.
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