Ever since Air India has joined the Star Alliance, things have become more and more professional for the airline as it brings in the specialist expertise to improve its service and product standards. With low fuel price helping the airline swing back into a profit. The airline is now learning from its peers and has now introduced paid seat selection for the preferred seats on all its routes. As of May 17, 2016 as long as you fulfill the conditions listed below. You are eligible to select a paid preferred seat for your travel with the airline.
With these changes, the airline is clearly showing the intent to generate revenue from its activities on the line of what the other airlines have done for a while now. The prices for each sector can be found here and seem to be pretty reasonable for most of the sectors.
These are good moves by the airline to boost its profitability and remove the arbitrary processes that led to favoritism at times for select few people. Overall such moves will definitely benefit the airline and align it more with its peers and their successful operating models.