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Home News Power Sector News UPA Government plans for disinvestment of PSUs in phased manner

UPA Government plans for disinvestment of PSUs in phased manner

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PranabIn its second innings, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government plans to go ahead with disinvestment of public sector undertakings (PSUs). While Oil India Limited (OIL) and National Hydro-Electric Power Corporation (NHPC) may be listed in the next couple of months, Rail India Technical and Economic Services, Cochin Shipyard Limited, Telecommunications Consultants India Limited, Manganese Core India Limited, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam may come up for disinvestment later.

In his budget speech, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said he planned to accumulate Rs. 1,120 crore through the disinvestment route in 2009-10. “The average public float in Indian listed companies is less than 15 per cent. Deep non-manipulative markets require larger and diversified public shareholdings. This requirement should be uniformly applied to the private sector as well as listed public sector companies. I propose to raise, in a phased manner, the threshold for non-promoter public shareholding for all listed companies.”

Mr. Mukherjee said: “The PSUs are the wealth of the nation, and part of this wealth should rest in the hands of the people. While retaining at least 51 per cent government equity in our enterprises, I propose to encourage people’s participation in our disinvestment programme.” He however, ruled out touching banks and insurance companies. “They will be given all support, including capital infusion to grow and remain competitive.”

Later, addressing journalists, Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla said OIL and NHPC’s initial public offerings would come out in August and September. “Four more companions based on overall framework and design will be identified [for disinvestment] by the Department of Disinvestment in consultation with ministries.”

Mr. Chawla said: “Sale of government equity would proceed in a phased manner … it is not necessary for the Finance Minister to spell out [in the budget speech] what entities will be disinvested. We have refrained from putting a specific number. Therefore, we have not taken that figure on the revenue side because we want to be very sure about the state of the market [when we go in for disinvestment]. It would also provide a cushion to the government finances in case of unforeseen expenditure.”

In its 2004-09 tenure, the UPA government received Rs.47,901 crore from disinvestment of equity in PSUs — Rs. 4,424 crore in 2004-05, Rs. 1,581 crore in 2005-06, Rs. 534 crore in 2006-07, Rs. 38,795 crore in 2007-08 and Rs. 2,567 crore in 2008-09.

Source - Hindu

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