PM meets PSU chiefs, promises growth push

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SummaryPrime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday promised to resolve operational and functional issues facing central public sector enterprises to unshackle their growth potential.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday promised to resolve operational and functional issues facing central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) to unshackle their growth potential.

The assurance was made by the PM during an interaction with chiefs of navratna and maharatna PSUs.

Singh also said that he would meet PSU chiefs again within six months for a resolution to the issues raised by them. “Some of the concerns of PSUs need to be addressed to ensure their optimal performance,” the PM was quoted as saying by an official who attended the meet.

Earlier in the meeting, key issues relating to the sector such as autonomy and empowerment, disinvestment plans, improvement in their MoU system and flexibility to the boards were flagged off in a presentation made by Arup Roy Chowdhury, chairman, standing conference of public sector enterprises (Scope), before the PM.

The meeting assumed added significance given the government's strategy to revive the economic growth by getting PSUs accelerate their capital expenditure at a time when the private sector remains cautious about the economic growth prospects and is holding back on its investment proposals.

Surplus capital available with cash-rich PSUs like Coal India, ONGC, NTPC, Power Grid and Bhel, are estimated at over R1.5 lakh crore. Unable to step up public expenditure in the face of a rising fiscal deficit, the government is instead banking on speedier investment by the PSUs to revive a sagging economy.

“Scope is happy that the PM gave so much time to hear issues of the PSUs,” UD Choubey, director general said. Finance minister P Chidambram, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, minister for heavy industries Praful Patel also attended the meeting besides 25 chiefs of navratna and maharatna CPSEs.

Issues like succession, planning and strategy vision for PSUs were also discussed in the meeting.

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