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NITI Aayog initiates groundwork to pick out more PSUs for sale

Monday, 26 Oct 2020
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NITI Aayog has begun groundwork for selecting the next set of public sector enterprises (PSUs) for strategic sale and disinvestment.

NITI Aayog has asked different ministries to recommend the names of  enterprises which can be considered for a strategic sale, where both ownership and control will be transferred.

The idea is to see which companies and assets, which are non-strategic in nature, can be pushed for sale in the next round.

The government can opt for strategic deals, disinvestment where a minority stake will be sold, monetisation of certain assets of a company or even a share buyback in enterprises that will be identified.

The move to push for privatisation on a war footing is in sync with the government’s intent to completely exit non-strategic sectors through privatisation or strategic disinvestment, while retaining only a few public-sector units in strategic sectors which could include defence, banking,  insurance, steel, fertilisers and petroleum.

The government aims to raise Rs 1.2 lakh crore in FY21 through strategic sale and another Rs 90,000 crore from disinvestment of stake in public sector banks and financial institutions, taking the total to Rs 2.1 lakh crore.

NITI Aayog had recommended 48 companies in the first round of disinvestment, including Air India and certain assets of NTPC, the Cement Corporation of India, Bharat Earth Movers and the Steel Authority of India.

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), which is the nodal authority under the Finance Ministry to implement the government’s drive to exit non-strategic sectors, is expected to push for the sale of BEML, the Container Corporation of India, the Bharat Petroleum Corporation and the Shipping Corporation in a month which is expected to fetch the government more than Rs 45,000 crore.

Work on the disinvestment in Air India is moving ahead and the government hopes to kick-start the process by December 2020.

The government has identified more than half a dozen PSUs, including NTPC, Coal India and NMDC, for a share buyback where the government will sell part of its shares to the companies through such buyback offers.

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