Quite unlike a typical politician seeking comfort in spinning words or latching on to a ringing phrase, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman at her post budget stakeholder interaction, organised on Saturday, February 4th in Mumbai, came across clearly as a leader who is not just clear on her bean-counting goals but also willing to detail every step in that direction.
At her post budget stakeholder interaction organised on Saturday, February 4th, responding to a question on the disinvestment plans of the government raised by Anant Goenka, executive director of the Indian Express Group and the co-chair of FICCI, Maharashtra, she asked Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) to not just explain but also list out the entities that were in the forefront in the disinvestment pipeline.
Here are some of the entities that he pointed out:
Referring first to NMDC’s Steel Plant or NSL at Nagarnar in Chhattisgarh, he said, for the brand new plant, the government had received expressions of interest and the process is moving forward.
Then, on IDBI Bank, he said, we have expression of interest and we have moved forward and are proceeding ahead. On Shipping Corporation of India, he said, the demerger process was in a very advanced stage and so was the case with a few others and these he said were:
BEML (Bharat Earth Movers Limited)
PDIL (Projects & Development India)
Disinvestment, he explained, “was a complex process especially when we are handing over the management control, it involves the deepest scrutiny of the company by potential bidders.” Also, he reminded, there could be issues where there could be say the need to carve out the real estate and many a times involving situations where cooperation of the state governments would be needed. Referring to the case of Neelachal Ispat Nigam Limited in Odisha, he said, “we got excellent cooperation from the Odisha government and as a result, there was a win-win situation where in workers got paid, the mill was revived and now it is on a growth path.”
This centre-state cooperation in the process of disinvestment, he pointed out, tended to prove critical as it led to fruitful outcomes for, as he said, “these enterprises grow faster post disinvestment and the employment potential of these enterprises is also maximised, which is really the end objective.”
At a broader level, he reiterated that the disinvestment was an ongoing policy of the government and that several transactions have been taken up and headed for their logical culmination. However, in this process, the government was staying mindful of the markets and the interests of the minority shareholders.