Bucking the trend of missing targets since the disinvestment began seven years ago, the Centre achieved the 2017-18 revised disinvestment target of Rs 1 lakh crore. Thanks to the plans laid out sufficiently early in the year — the Centre mopped up Rs 1,00,056.91 crore. Besides Rs 36,915 crore (37% of total disinvestment receipt) from government entity HPCL’s stake sale to ONGC, bulk of the disinvestment receipt were from a clutch of IPOs (Rs 23,570 crore), Bharat 22 ETF (Rs 14,500) and offers for sale (Rs 14,119 crore). Buyback of shares by PSUs and management of Suuti holdings in several firms fetched the balance amount to the exchequer this year.
Against the initial disinvestment target of Rs 56,500 crore and revised target of Rs 45,500 crore, the government had collected Rs 46,247 crore in FY17. The original disinvestment target for 2017-18 was Rs 72,500 crore. Higher disinvestment revenue was crucial for stepping-up spending without inflating fiscal deficit too much, even though the deficit target was revised upwards from 3.2% to 3.5% as the Reserve Bank of India paid nearly Rs 27,341 crore less dividend than projected for the year. Even as concerns remain on the tax revenue front as well due to the goods and services tax’s transitional problems, the government could still meet the deficit target for the year as nominal GDP is expected to be higher than estimated earlier.