Disinvestment process for 23 PSUs has commenced, says FM Sitharaman

FINANCE  Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has confirmed the government is going ahead with completing the disinvestment process of close to 23 PSUs as decided by the Union Cabinet after due deliberations. She said the purpose is to ensure the consolidation of public sector undertakings (PSUs) as well as scaling up of their operations. The government wants to sell stake in public sector companies at a time when it fetches the right price. “There are already nearly 22-23 such PSUs which have been cleared by the Cabinet for disinvestment. The intent is clear that at least for those which had already been cleared by the Cabinet, we will have to disinvest,” Sitharaman is quoted by PTI as saying. Sitharaman said she would soon meet small finance firms and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) to review the credit being extended by them for business and ascertain whether they faced any liquidity problem. Interacting with Hero Enterprise Chairman Sunil Kant Munjal, she said the government as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat package has announced opening up of all sectors for private participation. “The final call as to which are the sectors which are going to be called ‘strategic’ is not made yet, that has to be announced and I can’t pre-empt what announcement is likely to come. “But in those sectors which we are going to call strategic, the private sector will obviously be allowed and the public sectors will be limited to a maximum of four units,” she said. For the 2020-21 fiscal, the government has set a disinvestment target of Rs 2.10 trillion. Of this, Rs 1.20 trillion will come from disinvestment of public sector undertakings and another Rs 90,000 crore from stake sale in financial institutions. With regard to extending credit to the industry, Sitharaman said under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS), micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) can avail loans. As of July 23, 2020, the total amount sanctioned under the 100 percent Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme by public and private sector banks stands at Rs 1,30,491.79 crore, of which Rs 82,065.01 crore has already been disbursed. Meanwhile, the government has announced employees will not be affected due to privatisation of the loss-making national carrier Air-India.

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