Govt to wrap up sale of Air India, BPCL by March 2020: Nirmala Sitharaman

Topics BPCL | Air India | Air India sale

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman | Photo: PTI
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said the government would wrap up the sale of Air India and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) by March 2020, according to a news report in The Times of India.


Sitharaman also said there is a "lot of interest" among investors about the sale of Air India as seen in the international roadshows carried out by the Government.


"We are moving on both with the expectation that we can complete them this year. The ground realities will play out," Sitharaman told the Times of India.


The finance minister stated the strategic disinvestment of the two state-run companies is critical for the government to meet its disinvestment target of Rs 1 trillion for the current fiscal year.


The government had to shelve plans for Air India's stake sale earlier due to lukewarm response by investors.


The government took measures to reverse the economic slowdown at the right time and several sectors are coming out of distress, the report quoted Sitharaman as saying. She further added that the industry captains had contributed to improving their balance sheets and many of them were also mulling fresh investments.


The finance minister said she expected GST collections to revive following an improvement in sales in some segments as well as government's recent efforts to plug leakages.


On the Supreme Court's recent verdict on Essar Steel, Sitharaman said the ruling has strengthened the constitutionality and legal strength of the IBC law and it would have a significant impact on the balance sheets of banks in the next quarter.


She also claimed there were indications of revival in consumer sentiment, which was exhibited in demand of around Rs 1.8 trillion in loans from banks at the outreach programme during the festival season.


"If consumer confidence is not on way to being restored, why would you think that such an amount would have gone out as loans during the two outreach programmes started by banks? And, it is all over the country," the finance minister was quoted as saying.

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