National carrier Air India, that has been struggling with rising debts, has found a solution to plug some of the money drain. Stop serving non-vegetarian meals to economy class passengers on its domestic flights.
However, non-veg meals will be continued to be offered on international flights and to business and executive class flyers on domestic flights.
This comes at a time when the airline has been struggling with mounting debts and losses and the move is reportedly expected to save them Rs 7-8 crore annually.
"Air India has taken conscious decision not to have non vegetarian meal in economy class on its domestic flights to reduce wastage, reduce cost and improve catering service," GP Rao, AI spokesman GP Rao, told The Times of India.
The airline also said that this will avoid the possibility of mix-ups, apart from a rise in demand of vegetarian meals.
"It also eliminates the possibility of mix-up: a non-veg meal getting served to a vegetarian passenger, as it had happened a few times in the past," AI Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani told The Hindu.
Meanwhile, Twitterverse is bursting with views on whether this is a good move or not.
A few have been supportive of the airline stating that it was only implementing cost-cutting initiatives, stating that the problem was less with Air India and more social, with Indian vegetarians being intolerant in general.
I donβt quite understand the outrage against Air India for deciding to go with a vegetarian only meal option on domestic flights.β Krish Ashok (@krishashok) July 10, 2017
Simple business sense suggests that any loss making entity should attempt to optimise and cut costs & more food options = more cost.β Krish Ashok (@krishashok) July 10, 2017
A lot of low-cost airlines simplify food choices. Airlines in Lat Am, for e.g, sometimes just have a chicken/ham sandwich as the only optionβ Krish Ashok (@krishashok) July 10, 2017
And when their own data tells them 70% of passengers opt for a specific choice of food, going with that makes perfect sense.β Krish Ashok (@krishashok) July 10, 2017
Some said that passengers ought to be given a choice about what food they would want to eat and some suggested it was discrimination to serve non vegetarian meals only to business class passengers.
This argument (see thread) might have worked if Air India was a private commercial organisation. But it is (as of now) a Govt entity. https://t.co/dDQ1WfAtnIβ Manish (@jimanish) July 10, 2017
Air India is an arm of the state, within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution. It cannot discriminate or act arbitrarily.β Manish (@jimanish) July 10, 2017
Being an arm of the state also means that commerical considerations are sometimes overruled by commitments to social responsibility.β Manish (@jimanish) July 10, 2017
Anyway, the point I'm making is that commerical considerations, majoritarian preferences etc are not valid justification for actions taken..β Manish (@jimanish) July 10, 2017
...by a government organisation. And sets poor precedent for inclusivity, diversity etc.β Manish (@jimanish) July 10, 2017
Not that discrimination or majoritarianism by private organisations is any better, but the govt supporting it is particularly egregious.β Manish (@jimanish) July 10, 2017
Why is @airindiain forcing people to choose vegetarian meals. Give passengers a choice. Let them choose. Choices shouldn't be imposed.β Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) July 10, 2017
And of course there were those who took a dig at the airlines.
Doubt: is puliyodarai with roaches and sambhar with lizards veg or meat?β Not a Rhino. (@poeticgooner) July 10, 2017
Air India is unable to sort veg and non-veg boxes accurately. But is to be trusted to fly people. https://t.co/L19wo7hBoQβ Veena Venugopal (@veenavenugopal) July 10, 2017
Only veg food on Air India.
Next, flight attendants to speak only Hindi.
After that, stand for national anthem before flight take-off. #BMKJβ Madhu Menon (@madmanweb) July 10, 2017
BREAKING: To reduce costs, Air India converts 10 seats in every flight into a grass patch. Hungry passengers can graze by paying Rs. 99+GST.β Aisi Taisi Democracy (@AisiTaisiDemo) July 10, 2017
Only Veg food on Air India Flights? Will miss the lizards & cockroaches.β Trendulkar (@Trendulkar) July 10, 2017
.@PTI_News how many free veg meals will @airindiain dispense to clear it's $8 billion debtβ Nabanita Singha Roy (@NabanitaSRoy) July 10, 2017