The BMS, which passed a resolution against inflation, has also announced a pan-India protest against the monetisation policy on November 2.
Continuing his criticism of the Centre’s National Monetisation Pipeline, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman if they consulted the The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliated trade union, before announcing the scheme.
“If the PM, FM and the ministers are so sure about the merits of the National Monetisation Pipeline, why don’t they first convince the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS)? BMS is the RSS-affiliated trade union. Was BMS consulted before the NMP was announced?” Chidambaram said in a tweet.
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If the PM, FM and the ministers are so sure about the merits of the National Monetisation Pipeline, why don’t they first convince the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS)?
BMS is the RSS-affiliated trade union. Was BMS consulted before the NMP was announced?
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) September 7, 2021
The BMS, which passed a resolution against inflation, has also announced a pan-India protest against the monetisation policy on November 2. It has already planned a nationwide protest on September 9 against price rise.
Meanwhile, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, an RSS affiliate that pushes for indigenous production and opposes privatisation and disinvestment, has also criticised the Rs 6-lakh crore NMP programme unveiled by Nirmala Sitharaman last month.
The government, on its part, has defended the the plan to raise funds by leasing infrastructure assets of the central government ministries and state-run companies under NMP over four years, from FY 2022 to FY 2025. It has said that there will be handing back of assets being monetised, and only underutilised brownfield assets will be offered up for better use without any change of ownership.
On Sunday, Chidambaram called the project an act of ‘daylight robbery’. “The National Monetisation Pipeline scheme of the Central Government is daylight robbery. Whatever has been created by the governments of the country in the last 70 years is being given in the hands of a select few. People should be aware of this menace and oppose it,” Chidambaram was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The implementation of the NMP might turn out to be a tightrope walk for the government owing to the several hurdles that await. These include lack of identifiable revenues streams in various assets, level of capacity utilisation in gas and petroleum pipeline networks, dispute resolution mechanism, regulated tariffs in power sector assets, and low interest among investors in national highways below four lanes.
The slow pace of privatisation in government companies including Air India and BPCL, and less-than-encouraging bids in the recently launched PPP initiative in trains, indicate that attracting private investors’ interest is not that easy.