The Narendra Modi government has cleared strategic disinvestment in 28 public sector units till now that involves sale of majority stake and transfer of management control. The government is offloading minority stakes in certain other PSUs to promote public ownership and unlock enterprise value minister of state for finance Anurag Thakur informed the Rajya Sabha. The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs is the nodal authority to approve strategic disinvestment of central PSUs. The CCEA is yet to approve strategic disinvestment in fuel retailer Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Container Corporation and Shipping Corporation of India, the minister said.
The 28 central PSUs that have been cleared for strategic sale are Air India and its six subsidiaries/ joint ventures, Indian Tourism Development Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd, Dredging Corporation of India, Pawan Hans Ltd, Hindustan Newsprint Ltd, Scooters India Ltd, Bharat Earth Movers Ltd and Cement Corporation of India.
The government is keen to complete the sale of fuel retailer Bharat Petroleum Corporation and national carrier Air India this financial year, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had told The Times of India last week. She said there is a lot of interest among prospective buyers for Air India. The government had dropped the plan to sell the national carrier last year because of lukewarm response from investors.
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The government should be looking at raising much more than the disinvestment target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore set for the financial year as it is likely to miss the revenue target by a wide margin. The sale of 53% stake in BPCL this year is crucial for the government. The announcement of the sale of government stake in BPCL did not generate much interest among prospective buyers. India’s largest private firm Reliance Industries may not bid for the public sector firm. Unless the government manages to find a foreign buyer, it may ask India Oil to buy its stake in fellow PSU.