Secretary of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), Tuhin Kanta Pandey, claimed that the Union Government is moving forward with its disinvestment plan after the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pandey said that after 17 years, the current government would be completing its first privatization of a central government public sector enterprise (CPSE).
Speaking at the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Pandey emphasized the pandemic’s influence on the disinvestment program by the Centre.
“Covid hit us very badly. As you are aware, it is much easier to do a market transaction and much more difficult to make a strategic sale where the bidder would actually take control of the company.
So the due diligence process is extremely rigorous. We had controls on travel and so on. Gradually they are being lifted. Our disinvestment is back on track,” he said.
Emphasizing the Air India, BPCL, Shipping Corp of India, Pawan Hans, BEML, and Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd deals, which will be finalized this year, Pandey pointed out the potential stimulus to the stock market listed companies’ valuations.
The Prime Minister in February notified the government’s decision to sell nearly 100 Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) assets to raise Rs 2.5 trillion.
The target of Rs 6 trillion is expected to be collected through more assets disinvestments of the government departments in Centre and State.
“We intend to do Air India privatization this year. BPCL privatization we want to complete this year. After 17 years, the country will actually see privatization, the last one happened in 2003-04 in the NDA government,” Pandey said.
During the industry body’s annual session, he further notified that the Cabinet’s approval had set IDBI Bank’s disinvestment into motion.
“IDBI Bank disinvestment has been set into motion with the Cabinet approval, and the EoI of Concur will be issued as soon as the land lease policy is finalized.
On the asset monetization side, the Power Grid InvIT (Infrastructure Investment Trust) was actually successfully done. Second InvIT might come on the GAIL side,” he added.
Pandey spoke on the practice of privatization of government assets that it is not just to bridge the gap for the budget by disinvesting, but a more comprehensive approach towards policy change has to be adopted.
“A very important role we actually see in these things is our reform policy. Fiscal plugging will sooner or later stop because we have got about ₹3.5 trillion out of disinvestment in the last six years.
But we have to also keep in mind that a lot of our listed companies, have private investors there, and we are also likely to ensure that their value doesn’t get eroded.
We have to keep a balance into this as to how we do a calibrated disinvestment of the minority stake sale,” he added.