The Narendra Modi chaired Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today took a number of crucial decisions and among them were the granting of approval to the Andhra Pradesh’ Vijayawada airport as an International airport, national steel policy, modifications in the 7th Central Pay Commission recommendations on pay and pensionary benefits among others. However, two of the most critical ones among them was granting clearance to an ordinance to amend Banking Act to tackle the bank NPAs crisis as well as disinvestment of hotels and properties of India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) at three locations – Bhopal, Guwahati and Bharatpur.
The Modi Cabinet approved the promulgation of an ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act in order to solve the non-performing assets (NPA or bad loans) crisis faced by public sector banks – the amount is as high as Rs 6 lakh crore.
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However, details have not been provided by the government and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley himself explained why. He said that, “There is a convention that when some proposal is referred to the President, then details of it cannot be disclosed till it is approved. As soon as approval comes, details will be shared”.
The Cabinet also cleared the disinvestment of some properties and hotels of India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) at three locations – Bhopal, Guwahati and Bharatpur.
According to the official statement released thereafter, the reason provided for taking this decision was that the government did not think that running and managing hotels is the work of the government or its entities.
In all three cases, the hotels/properties are being given back to the states concerned. The statement added, “As part of the disinvestment policy, it has been decided to lease/sub-lease the hotels/properties jointly with the concerned states or return the properties to the states, after fair valuation,” it added.
Arun Jaitley said the states would then have the option to upgrade and operate the hotels by involving the private sector or to utilise the properties as per their requirements.
In the first stage of the disinvestment process, ITDC will exit from Hotel Lake View Ashok, Bhopal; Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok, Guwahati; and Hotel Bharatpur Ashok, Bharatpur, according to PTI.