The government is planning to list 10 more CPSEs and go ahead with strategic sale in a bid to achieve the ambitious disinvestment target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore in the current fiscal, DIPAM Secretary Atanu Chakraborty said Friday. He further said that although in the last five years, the government has not been able to privatise any public sector undertaking under strategic disinvestment, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) is hopeful of pushing forward some proposals in the current fiscal.
“The number of listed CPSEs is 59. We are going to add 10 more this year,” he said, adding 3-4 CPSEs are also likely to come out with follow on offers or offer for sales.
The companies which are lined up for initial public offering (IPO) include THDCIL, RailTel, TCIL, Water & Power Consultancy Services and FCI Aravali Gypsum. On whether the target would be achieved in the current fiscal, Chakraborty said there is a “cynicism” about disinvestment.
“In last three years, it has steadily moved. Over last 2 years, the trajectory that one has seen should be adequate to convince people that perhaps the target will come through, though they are strongly affected by the way market moves,” he said at a CII event here. As regard to the criticism that government sells family silver, Chakraborty said in 2014 the value of government holding in listed entities was Rs 8.01 lakh crore.
Although the government during 2014-2019 raised Rs 2.80 lakh crore through disinvestment, he said, adding that the total value of government holding in listed companies at the end of June was Rs 8.17 lakh crore. “So much for the loss of family silver,” he quipped.
On the Budget proposal of increasing minimum public holding in listed companies from 25 per cent to 35 per cent, Chakraborty said promoter holding in most of the CPSES are in the range of 65 per cent or below. “However, for private sector, I have seen some reticence, but if a company is public limited why the reticence for giving a wider ownership which is the basic principle? Perhaps time, the manner of doing and the regulation, which is the domain of Sebi,” he said.
In her Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the time is right to consider increasing minimum public shareholding in the listed companies. “I have asked Sebi to consider raising the current threshold of 25 per cent to 35 per cent”. Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said market regulator Sebi is being requested to hold stakeholder consultations to find out the arguments in favour and against the move, and decide what kind of regime would be appropriate for India to move beyond 25 per cent.