Economic Survey 2018: The Survey today suggested that the government should complete Air India disinvestment within the next financial year. The agenda for 2018-19, as suggested by the Survey, includes stabilising GST, completing the TBS (twin balance sheet) actions, privatising Air India, and staving off threats to macro-economic stability. The government had realised Rs 46,247 crore in 2016-17 from 16 transactions of disinvestment. The Budget 2018 target for current fiscal was set at Rs 72,500 crore, which included Rs 46,500 crore to be raised through minority stake sale in PSUs, Rs 15,000 crore from strategic stake sale and Rs 11,000 crore from listing of general insurance companies. Between April-November, 2017, the government had already raised Rs 52,378 crore through PSU disinvestment. Further, with NMDC share sale and ONGC-HPCL deal coming through, the disinvestment proceeds in current fiscal is estimated to cross Rs 90,000 crore.
“This realisation generates optimism regarding disinvestment proceeds in relation to the ambitious budgetary targets,” the Survey, authored by Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian said. In June last year, the government gave in-principle nod for strategic disinvestment of Air India. The government is working on the modalities for the stake sale. The carrier, which has a debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore, managed to clock operational profit for the first time in a decade in 2015-16.