New Delhi: To protest against Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) privatisation, Steel Executives' Association (SEA) is going to organise a silent march on March 14 in Vishakhapatnam in which steel PSU employees with take part along with their families. In an official statement released on Saturday, the association said that the silent march will begin from Telugu Thalli Junction (KBR bus stop) at 7.30 am and will conclude at Kurmannapalem Junction around 9 am. "In view of the strategic disinvestment of RINL decided by GOI, Steel Executives Association (SEA) is organizing a SILENT MARCH – together with November 2011 batch MTs on this Sunday 14/03/2021," said the statement.
In its charter of demands, the Steel Executives' Association has demanded that the government withdraw its decision to disinvest 100 percent stake in RINL. It has called on the government to merge RINL with Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) if it wants to disinvest the company. In addition, in order to turnaround the loss-making company, the association wants the government to allot captive mines to RINL and infuse capital into the steel PSU.
The news comes barely days after massive protests erupted in Vizag on March 9 after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in the Lok Sabha that the Centre would go ahead with RINL privatisation. The protest against RINL privatisation has gained political mileage with leaders from political parties lending support to the struggle. After the March 9 protests, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy also shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking an appointment with him at the earliest to discuss alternatives for reviving RINL from losses instead of privatising it.
The Central government, on the other hand, has categorically declared its intention to privatise or shut down PSUs that have been incurring losses. The government has also announced a mega disinvestment drive which is going to drastically reduce the number of companies under government's control. While a bare minimum number of PSUs will be retained in the strategic sectors listed by the government, the ones in non-strategic sectors will be either privatised, merged or closed down. For FY22, the government has set a target of raising Rs 1.75 lakh crore from PSU disinvestment.
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