The Rajya Sabha Secretariat has informed the Senators that Air India has stopped providing credit facilities to Members of Parliament for the purchase of airline tickets. Air India’s move was criticized by a section of Parliament, who said the withdrawal of the facilities should have been done after consulting at least with floor leaders in the House of Representatives.

Rajya Sabha Secretary General PPK Ramacharyulu told members through a circular that as a result of the center’s recent decision to withdraw Air India’s investment, the carrier had stopped “extension of credit facility for purchase of airline tickets against exchange orders issued by the Secretariat.” “Accordingly, the Secretariat immediately stopped issuing exchange orders. Air tickets can be purchased from Air India for cash, until further instructions,” he said in the circular to all members. Earlier, Air India had suspended the facility to government departments.

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The CPI (M) floor leader in the Rajya Sabha and a member of the General Purpose Committee, Imam Karim, said the decision would create obstacles for MPs. He said that the deputies used to take advantage of credit facilities to buy tickets at airports in case of unscheduled meetings. This government stops the facilities granted to the deputies one by one. They do so without any discussions in Parliament or with leaders of the floor or in the General Purpose Committee. “This shows their respect for Parliament,” Karim said.

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Another Rajya Sabha MP said that since Air India is no longer a government-owned airline, it is expected to shut down the facility. MP Lok Sabha said he used to book tickets through a tour operator who provides him with credits. “I pay for this agency as soon as my travel bills are cleared by the Secretariat. So, I have no problem even if Air India closes this facility because I get credit from elsewhere,” the MP added.

Ramacharulu also told MPs in the circular to immediately settle the dues to Air India by submitting travel allowance claims as soon as possible at the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.

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