Plan to monetise 100 public sector assets, drawing Rs 2.5 trillion: PM

PM Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday made a strong case for privatisation of public sector undertakings that he said burdened the taxpayer, and stressed that the government has “no business to be in business”. He said his regime has set a target to monetise 100 PSUs in oil, gas, airports, ports, power, among other areas, which will draw Rs 2.5 trillion of investment.


“This process will continue in the future as well,” he said at a webinar on privatisation and investments in the Budget for 2021-22.


The PM underscored the need for adopting the best global practices for determining price discovery of these assets and mapping stakeholders.


“The implementation of these policies are equally important. Stable policies and the right processes are required to ensure transparency and competition,” he added.


The PM said the government is committed to privatise public sector enterprises (PSEs) in every area — other than strategic — as was underlined in the Budget. He said this policy — Medium-Term Strategic Approach — is more than simply setting annual targets for disinvestment in PSEs. This approach will help in drawing up a road map for investments.


The PM said the change in management in PSEs often takes these units to new heights. “Our mantra is ‘monetise and modernise’,” he said.


He exuded confidence that many foreign investors are eager to open their first office in India. He suggested they can take the help of GIFT City in Ahmedabad. “We are working expeditiously to provide such plug-and-play facilities in the country,” he said.


He said the taxpayers’ money is used for keeping even loss-making PSEs running, whereas it should have been utilised for social welfare schemes for the poor and for meeting the aspirations of the youth.


“PSEs need not be run simply because they were there for so many years and were the pet projects of someone,” he emphasised. They should be run if they are useful for some specific and strategic sectors, he clarified.


The government needs to support enterprises and businesses in the country, but need not run these enterprises in this era.


 the government does business, it leads to many losses. There is lack of commercial decision-making in the government. Employees don’t take decisions out of fear of legal tangles and let the system work as it is,” he said.


The government has the best workforce, but it is trained in running the public administration and social welfare activities.


“When the government does business, the bright workforce has to be shifted from its core activity. We do justice neither to the employees nor the enterprises. That is why I say the government has no business to be in business,” he said.


The money that will accrue through asset monetisation and privatisation will be used for social welfare activities — building houses for the poor, laying roads in villages, opening schools, and bringing potable water to the poor.


Privatisation will also throw open employment opportunities to the youth, he said.


Modi reiterated that the government has a Rs 111-trillion national infrastructure pipeline for the next five years, of which around Rs 25 trillion may come from the private sector.


He said the Budget has addressed the tax issues in infrastructure raised by investors. “The Budget has laid a road map for taking India to a high growth trajectory.”

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