India considers new panel to quicken privatisation of state-run firms

Topics privatisation | Assets

Illustration: Binay Sinha
India is considering setting up a body consisting of independent experts that would take over the role of privatising state-run firms once the government decides to divest, according to people with knowledge of the matter.


The panel will replace bureaucrats, who currently manage privatisation, as well as minority stake sales, sources said. The proposal is at an early stage and a final decision hasn’t been taken, they said.


An external panel will help accelerate the asset sale process and bypass red tape, according to the people. India still hasn’t managed to find a buyer for debt-ridden Air India even after the cabinet approved the sale in 2017. A finance ministry spokesperson declined to comment.


Modi’s administration earlier this month said it would keep a “bare minimum presence” by running companies in atomic energy, space and defence; transport and telecommunications; power, oil and coal; banking and financial services, according to a notice on the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management’s website. India plans to raise Rs 1.75 trillion selling stakes in state-run firms in the fiscal year starting April 1.

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