Aviation Ministry Clears The Air For Qataris: Can’t Have A Completely Owned Entity According To Norms

Swarajya Staff

Sep 05, 2018, 12:13 PM | Updated 12:13 PM IST

Qatar Airways. (pic via Twitter)
Qatar Airways. (pic via Twitter)

Union government has hinted that it can make it difficult for the Qatar Airways’ plan to launch an airline in India in the format that it desires to shape. The investment format in India currently allows 49 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI), and the remaining 51 per cent has to be owned by an individual or organisation that is Indian. Non-Residential Indians (NRIs) are however exempted from the rule.

According to the existing framework, RN Choubey, Secretary to the Minister of Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu says that it is not possible for us to permit complete ownership of an entity by the Qataris solely.

As reported in The Indian Express, said “Current policy of the government is that the substantial ownership and effective control should remain with Indian nationals and they will have to comply. You cannot have substantial ownership of more than 50 per cent because then you are violating the policy.”

Additionally, there is no proposal as of now from Qatar Airlines. The Chief Executive of Qatar Airways Group Akbar Al-Baker is reported to have told the press that the rules of allowing a foreign entity to own 100 per cent stakes in India is not clear enough, hence the confusion.

He expressed that the current policies are very ambiguous and hard to interpret, and sought clarification from the Indian officials. In response to him, Choubey said that it’s not possible to allow complete ownership. If his counterpart was to assume that he can manage to run the entity with 49 per cent ownership, with the other half owned by an Indian entity, it is absolutely permissible.

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