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Disinvestment of power PSUs: Power Ministry raises concerns, asks govt to rethink

The Power Ministry has raised concerns over the govt’s disinvestment plan for power PSUs which is likely to cut down the Centre’s stake to below 51%

New Delhi: The Ministry of Power has raised concerns over the government’s disinvestment plan for power PSUs which is likely to cut down the Centre’s stake in NTPC Limited, PFC (Power Finance Corporation) and PowerGrid to below 51 percent, a senior official said on Monday. “There are issues. There will be some advantages and there will be some disadvantages,” Power Secretary SN Sahai told reporters on the sidelines of the 19th Foundation Day celebrations of BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency).

‘Have told govt of disadvantages of disinvestment of power PSUs’

On being asked whether the Power Ministry has rejected the proposal on disinvestment of power PSUs, Sahai said, “There is nothing like rejection. Each proposal has two sides, the advantages and disadvantages, we have conveyed both of them to the Finance Ministry. We have told them about the disadvantages, and we are cognizant of the advantages.” He added that the ministry has highlighted both the aspects of the issue and no stand has been taken yet and these are part of deliberations on the proposal. The government is yet to take a final call on the matter.

What are Power Ministry’s concerns?

Under its strategic disinvestment plan, the government was considering cutting government equity below 51 percent in power PSUs, including NTPC, PowerGrid and PFC. However, the news elicited concerns from foreign bondholders in these PSUs. These PSUs have also told the ministry that the move would not go down well with investors, including foreign lenders. The power entities are supposed to compensate bondholders after reduction of the government stake to below 51 per cent. An official said that the Power Ministry has forwarded these concerns raised by PSUs to the Ministry of Finance. The government currently owns 54.14 percent in NTPC, 54.96 percent in PowerGrid and 55.99 percent in PFC.