Thursday, March 26, 2015

Govt earns highest divestment proceeds this fiscal: Jaitley

FM Arun Jaitley
FINANCE Minister Arun Jaitley on March 25 said that though the government may not have achieved its disinvestment target with the last few days of the fiscal remaining, the amount realised this year has been the highest.
"Even though in the current year that is coming to an end, we may not have reached the (disinvestment) target I had set, in terms of numbers, this is the highest ever disinvestment that has taken place in any year, and so I intend to step it up next year," Jaitley...
said addressing the Growth Net 2015 Conference in New Delhi organised in partnership with the external affairs ministry.
For the current fiscal, the disinvestment proceeds are projected at Rs.31,350 crore. The government has raised about Rs.24,500 crore through disinvestment in Steel Authority of India and Coal India.
For 2015-16 fiscal beginning April, the government has budgeted to collect Rs.69,500 crore through public sector disinvestment.
This includes Rs.41,000 crore to be garnered through minority stake sale and another Rs.28,500 crore through strategic sale in both loss and profit making PSUs.
Asked to clarify on "strategic sale", Jaitley said that it means transferring the management control.
"Completely loss-making companies that cannot be revived, can I say I want to divest, but I want to keep control and the taxpayer will fund it?" the minister asked.
The government has earlier clarified that strategic sale does not include residual sale of government equity in non-government firms.
The disinvestment department is working out modalities for strategic sale of PSUs which will see management control passing on to the private sector.
“Strategic sale is transferring the management control. It is a strong intent of the government and details are being worked out,” disinvestment secretary Aradhana Johri had earlier said.
Ms Johri said that although the policy of strategic sale has been there in the past, it would be a priority issue for the government during the next fiscal.
“The policy of strategic sale has always been there. It has been the policy in the last NDA government. The policy has never been set aside. In this Budget, there is a statement of intent, that, well this is going to be a priority of the government,” she said.
For the full fiscal, the government has budgeted to raise Rs 28,500 crore through strategic sale. This is over and above Rs 41,000 crore to be raised through divestment of minority stake in PSUs.
Ms Johri clarified that strategic sale does not include residual sale of government equity in non-government firms.
“Residual stake sales, SUUTI comes in one category, that is sale of shares in non-government companies. Where the management control is with someone else and government holds (minority) shares,” she said.
The PSUs in which equity was offloaded as part of the strategic sale between 2001-04, include BALCO, HZL, CMC, ITDC, VSNL, Maruti Suzuki, Jessop & Company, Hotel Corporation of India and Indian Petrochemicals.
Valuations realised through this route were found to be substantially higher than those from minority stake sales, as per the available data.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley had earlier said “certainly we are not averse” to strategic sales.

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