Rich PSUs to bail out divestment by buying stakes of other PSUs
The idea is to use a portion of the cash surplus with PSUs to boost the disinvestment programme, given the market appetite for the stakes being offloaded is relatively small. Sources said that NMDC with its R24,000-crore cash reserve is equipped to assist the government’s disinvestment programme, even after meeting its capex requirements of R15,000 crore for the next three years. In the last couple of years, when market sentiments remained weak, Life Insurance Corporation played a key role in salvaging the disinvestment programme. The latest instance is that of the state-run insurer, along with State Bank of India and other state-owned financial institutions bailing out Hindustan Copper’s (HCL) offer for sale (OFS) issue.
Currently, the cash surplus with PSUs is a little over R1.5 lakh crore. Although these PSUs have lined up investment plans, the government reckons that a portion of the surplus can be made available for PSU disinvestment, given the government’s acute fiscal stress. Sources said that Coal India, with a cash surplus of R65,000 crore, can also be
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