The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the sale of the government’s 53.29% stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, paving the way for the privatisation of the country’s second largest fuel retailer. The proposed sale will not include BPCL’s 61.65% stake in Numaligarh Refinery in Assam that will be transferred to another PSU. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs also cleared strategic disinvestment in Shipping Corporation of India, Container Corporation of India, Tehri Hydro Development Corporation and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation.
The big bang disinvestments will help the government meet its disinvestment target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore for 2019-20. The selloff proceeds will be crucial to the government which expects a Rs 2 lakh crore shortfall in budgeted revenue collection.
The government will sell its entire 63.75% stake in Shipping Corporation of India and 30.8% of its stake in Container Corporation of India in which it has 54.8% stake. The finance minister said the NTPC Ltd will buy the government out in unlisted Tehri Hydro Development Corporation and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation.
The CCEA meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also cleared a plan to reduce government stake in certain public sector firms while retaining management control, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman told newspersons. The approval will enable the government to reduce its stake to below 51% in select public sector units on a case-to-case basis.
The cabinet meeting also cleared the food ministry’s decision to import 1.2 lakh tonne onions, a legislation for regularising illegal colonies in Delhi, initiatives to revive the fortunes of the sagging construction sector, and amendments to the existing toll-operate-transfer model for national highway projects.