Shares of ITC fell by nearly 2 percent today amid reports that the government is considering divesting its stake in the company. The stock went down by 1.73 percent to settle at Rs 306.20 on BSE. During the day, it lost 2.23 per cent to Rs 304.65. On NSE, the stock declined 1.79 per cent to Rs 306. On the volume front, 6.48 lakh shares of the company were traded on BSE and over one crore shares changed hands at NSE during the day.
Government has stake in ITC through SUUTI. Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI) had 9.10 per cent stake in the company, according to March quarter shareholding pattern. Life Insurance Corporation of India holds 16.29 per cent stake in ITC.
While there was no official word on the same, Coalition Against Tobacco said, “The Finance Ministry’s intent to divest its stake in tobacco companies is a welcome step towards tobacco control.” The ‘Coalition Against Tobacco’ had recently written to the Prime Minister, highlighting the environmental dangers and degradation at multiple levels due to production and processing of tobacco.
“This move by the Finance Ministry to consider divesting its stake in tobacco stocks is a big step towards a tobacco- free India. The damage that this socially undesirable evil has been doing to our people can finally be reversed through action by the state and civil society, by the government’s bold step of moving out of this business,” said Pankaj Chaturvedi, Head and Neck cancer surgeon, Tata Memorial Hospital and a member of the Coalition.
On implementation, this will be a major step in dissuading other institutions from investing in this industry and stop promoting tobacco and its consequences in a country like India where almost a million people die annually due to usage of tobacco and tobacco products, it said in a statement.