Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the government will “significantly overtake” the disinvestment target for the current financial year. Speaking at the AGM of industry chamber Ficci, the finance minister also said that Air India disinvestment plan is moving expeditiously and is on track. The government has set an ambitious target of raising Rs 72,500 crore through disinvestment in the current fiscal. Of this, Rs 46,500 crore is to be raised through minority stake sale in PSUs and Rs 15,000 crore from strategic sales. Another Rs 11,000 crore is to come from listing of insurance companies. Total disinvestment proceeds during the current financial year (as on December 4, 2017) stands at Rs 52,389.86 crore.
“This is going to be the first year in history where we are going to significantly overtake disinvestment target itself. In India, privatisation and disinvestment is art of the possible thing and that happened all over the world,” the minister said. He said the government has been able to sell its stake in state-owned insurance companies and some PSUs engaged in commodities business even in difficult market conditions. The government recently sold its stake in GIC-Re and New India Assurance. The government reduced its stake in several PSUs this year, including HUDCO, EIL, NTPC, NALCO and OIL. Referring to the strategic disinvestment of Air India, Jaitley said “we are moving expeditiously and it’s on the track at the moment”.
He said advisors and others have been appointed for the disinvestment of the state-carrier. “They are trying to study the market and study the universe of buyers and we will soon be coming out with the next step,” said Jaitley, who heads the group of ministers working on the modalities of the disinvestment of Air India. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle nod for the strategic disinvestment of Air India in June this year. 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 eke out operational profit for the first time in a decade in 2015-16.