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       Govt owes Air India over Rs. 325 cr for VVIP chartered flights
         Posted on :22:05:09 Mar 11, 2018
       Last edited on:22:05:09 Mar 11, 2018
         Tags: Govt owes Air India Rs. 325 cr, VVIP chartere

NEW DELHI: The government owes over Rs. 325 crore to cash-strapped Air India with bills pending for VVIP chartered flights to foreign countries, according to an RTI response.

The national carrier, which is on the verge of being privatised, has provided details of pending bills towards various ministries responsible for the VVIP visits in its latest response to the information sought by Commodore (retd) Lokesh Batra.

The details provided in the response dated March 8 shows that Rs. 325.81 crore worth of bills for VVIP charter flights are pending as on January 31, 2018.

Of the total pending bills, Rs. 84.01 crore have been carried forward from last financial year while the remaining Rs. 241.80 crore are from bills generated this year.

The chartered aircraft for VVIPs — the President, the Vice President and the Prime Minister — for their visits abroad are provided by Air India which modifies its commercial jets to suit the needs of the travelling dignitaries.

The bills for these aircraft are to be paid from the exchequer by the defence ministry, the ministry of external affairs ministry, the Prime Minister's Office and the Cabinet Secretariat.

The response from Air India said that the highest outstanding amount of Rs. 178.55 crore was due from the external affairs ministry, followed by the Cabinet Secretariat and the PMO (Rs. 128.84 crore), and the defence ministry (Rs. 18.42 crore).

The reply stated that outstanding bills of Rs. 451.71 crore were carried forward while bills of Rs. 553.01 crore were generated this year — a total of Rs. 1004.72 crore. Out of this, the government made a payment of Rs. 678.91 crore this year.

The payment of Rs. 678.91 crore includes Rs. 367.70 crore paid towards Rs. 451.71 crore bills carried forward from last year and Rs. 311.23 crore payment towards bills of Rs. 533.01 crore generated this year.

After the payment, the outstanding as on January 31, 2018 stands at Rs. 325.81 crore.

In a separate response dated March 5, three days before Air India's reply, the civil aviation ministry has said the total outstanding bills to be Rs. 345.946 crore as on December 31, 2017.

In addition to the VVIP flights, the amount of Rs. 345.946 crore also includes outstanding bills of Rs. 20.966 crore towards services offered to visiting dignitaries and evacuation missions.

In its response, Air India has given outstanding bills only for VVIP flights till January 31, 2018.

The response provided by the Civil Aviation Ministry also includes a break up of outstanding amount towards various ministries and details of invoices which shows that out of outstanding invoices of Rs. 182.22 crore towards flights of the President, Rs. 174.22 crore was paid and Rs. 8 crore was pending.

In the case of the Vice President, out of outstanding invoices of Rs. 414.28 crore, Rs. 216.02 crore was paid and payment of Rs. 198.254 crore was yet to be made as on December 31, 2017, it said.

For the visits of the Prime Minister, out of total outstanding invoices of Rs. 272.80 crore, Rs. 154.07 crore was paid while a payment of Rs. 118.724 crore was still awaited, it said.

In addition to the services for the VVIP flights, the bills of Rs. 11.594 crore for daring Air India operations to evacuate Indian citizens from Cairo, Iraq, and Malta (for citizens stuck in Libya) between 2011 and 2014 are still pending with the MEA, the civil aviation ministry said.

A bill of Rs. 23 lakh for the fuel charges of the flight to the United States carrying relief material in the aftermath of Katrina hurricane in September 2005 is also pending with the defence ministry, it said.

Bills worth Rs. 9.376 crore are also pending towards flights for various dignitaries including the heads of the states, the ministry said.

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