India definitely moved forward post 90’s from protected economy to liberal economy. Many of the PSU’s, govt. controlled sector such as bank, power, telecom, aviation etc. were open for private sector. Today @ mid-2009, progressive volume speaks about the result itself, growth achieved in last two decades. India companies started becoming global powerhouse and started moving inside-out. India is no longer considered a laggard country, rather a leader on its own. India contribution rather participation towards the world economy is must both as consumer and producer. Issue is did India moved in right direction and liberalize all relevant sector, companies towards private participation. Largely yes, if we consider growth demonstrated by Tata’s, Mittal’s, Airtel, SBI, Reliance, Wipro/Infosys establishing credibility not only limited to India, truly in global manner.
However, few thorns are still pricking India and one of them is government backing of sinking ‘Titanic’s’ such as Air-India. Air-India, though one of the best recognized brand “Maharaja” couldn’t able to achieve or open eye to the competition. Today, as it stands Air-India is dying and not gradually rather immediately. It doesn’t have money to pay wages/salaries; customer (even loyal Indians) prefers competitive airlines any day, operational expenses far exceeded the revenue numbers. It is demanding huge corpus in excess of 20,000 crore to infuse sign of life and recovery. It is high likely; Air-India will be given chance to rebirth in totality. There is no way; Air-India can be left on death-bed with so many employees and support system relying on Air-India. More-over there is brand-equity associated with Air-India. That is still truly aviation brand of India. There are already certain measures taken, such as change of management, operational expenses reduction, and focus on revenue. Aviation ministry must be contemplating how to infuse funds setting the correct precedence, rather than giving improper impression of supporting bad organizations how-so-ever badly run they are.
One of the key lessons in this scenario is to evaluate organizations similar stature and establish auditing mechanism such that such instances are not repeated again. Let all the govt. protected organizations such as power companies, petroleum companies, educational institutions etc. define profitability in right manner. Right manner can always be debated, since there is definite need to provide subsidy to rural sector, BPL families. What can’t be disputed is avoiding such circumstances of letting go organizations at point of no return and then infusion of 20K crore are required just to make “Maharaja” smile again.
Being an optimist, I believe with such a blessed govt. machinery, they must be taking note of the situation and assessing/redefining business models of other protected organizations @ India. For sure, Maharaja will shine as usual, not hypothetically rather in real-sense sooner than later.