The state of India's airports is far below par compared to other international airports and coupled with the exponential air travel boom in India, modernization, upgradation and increased efficiency is a must. The government has approved modernization of the Mumbai and Delhi airports to private companies and most likely other airports will be added. The AAI union is on strike to protest the privatization decision and is worried about job loss, compensation etc. and there has been some disruption in air travel.
That is more or less the status and as always has its two factions:
1. A section of people who are pissed with the Left-supported unions and are of the opinion that the strike has no real reason. "The workers are only worried that they will now have to really work to earn their wages, instead of being totally unaccountable, steal, cheat, bribe etc", they reason, which to some extent maybe true. Also, the claim is that privatization will only improve services and if that is the case it should it be done by all means.
2. The other section is the Left, which is crying foul on the privatization mantra, which the government seems to be using as a panacea to all its problems. They are worried about private monopoly,loss of jobs, loss of government/people control etc.
In my opinion, both of them are on the extreme ends of the spectrum. No doubt, airports need to be modernized and upgraded, but is privatization the only answer? The more important question to be asked is, "Why are the airports and several other government initiatives in such a mess?". The administration/ministry/state officials are largely responsible for it. Otherwise, how can it be that the same set of workers (a minimum 60% of the current airport workers will be retained after 3 years) will increase the quality of service at airports after privatization? Not to say that all government initiatives follow this pattern; BHEL, SBI, NTPC, Delhi Metro, Bombay Local Trains, BSNL, GAIL and several other mini-navratnas are profit making government and largely efficient ventures! Addressing the question of inefficient/corrupt/lack-of-foresight administration is the prime task in my opinion. In some sense, this should also be on the agenda of the unions. The unions have no doubt lost their credibility due to their political tie ups, goondaism etc., but they are the essential component to keep a check on the employer responsibilities. If the unions widen their scope; actively support maintenance of high work standards and also keep a tab on administrative responsibilities towards these initiatives, I think they can better argue their case against privatization. Now where does privatization come in? Sure, privatization is very much part of the game--- it is essential for competition, for capital and for entrepreneur opportunities, but not as panacea to cover up the reason of government administrative shortcomings.
... will be glad to hear your comments on this.
From a Striker's point of view
Fasten your seat belts