Wednesday, August 20, 2014

5 things Modi-led NDA govt has done vis-a-vis PSUs

EVER since the Narendra Modi-led NDA government assumed power on May 26 in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, thanks to its clear majority in Lok Sabha, the new BJP government has already taken a slew of bold measures to revive the ailing economy and as the public sector undertakings (PSUs) play a key role in the India, the sector has...
not been sidelined. State-owned firms, which employ 1.39 million people, are expected to play a key role in reviving India’s economic growth. Here are the five key things that the new government has done for the PSUs.
Disinvestment: The government on July 25 announced that it would be selling stake in four PSUs and publicly listing another as part of its disinvestment policy in order to shore up its finances, media reports said. Finance minister Arun Jaitley said that the government plans to sell a five percent stake in state-run Steel Authority of India Ltd this fiscal year ending March. The minister also said that the government has approved the sale of its residual stakes in Hindustan Zinc Ltd and Bharat Aluminium Co (BALCO). The Finance Minister said that the government plans to sell a 10 percent stake in Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) this fiscal year ending March.
No decision on fixed tenure for PSU heads: Though the S.K. Roongta Committee had highlighted the issue of “over-governance” in the PSUs and proposed a fixed tenure for chief executives in the PSUs in order to improve accountability, transparency and efficiency, the NDA government has made it clear that there is plan to fix the tenure of the heads of PSUs.
Finance minister's tough stance: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is sending a strong message to the public sector enterprises by categorically telling them to either shape up or shut down. Jaitley has asked them learn the trade secrets to deal with free competition in an era when state-run firms had lost monopoly rights and preference, which marked a clear-cut shift in the Centre's policy.
Revival package: However, in case of some PSUs, where there is a possibility of revival, the government is not shying away its responsibility. Reiterating his pledge to revive state-owned BSNL, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government will provide full support to the state-owned telecom giant to help regain its past glory. "Government is committed to the revival of BSNL...I want to assure the House that BSNL will not be allowed to die," he said. The minister said BSNL slipped because of "inadequate investment in infrastructure expansion in recent years leading to delay in expansion of mobile network" and the company was also made to pay "market rate (of Rs 18,500.38 crore) for both 3G and broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum".
Financial inclusion: Every citizen to have bank account. Major role for PSUs. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced from the ramparts of the Red Fort about the campaign for financial inclusion. This aims at ensuring that 7.5 crore households that do not have access to banking have at least two accounts and obviously the PSU banks to play a key role in the mission.

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