PSU SALE 2019: Govt to sell what’s saleable in PSU sector

New Delhi: As far as PSU sale 2019 plans are concerned, word has it that the government has placed it high on the agenda and will sell “whatever is saleable” and cut its ownership in public sector undertakings (PSUs) to below 51 percent. According to sources in the Finance Ministry, bringing down the government holding to below 51 percent will require amendments in laws and will also take PSUs outside the purview of oversight agencies like the Central Vigilance Commission and the Comptroller & Auditor General.

Cabinet yet to take a call on breaching 51% ownership

Sources said that the Cabinet had in the past decided to keep its ownership at 51 percent in PSUs. It will now have to take a call on cutting it down to below that level, a source said. “The government is proposing/planning to bring down its equity holding below 51 percent in select Central public sector enterprises,” the person said. They added that privatisation is the “top-most priority” for the government for the next three-four years.

PSU sale 2019: Whatever is saleable will be sold

“We have strong support from the Prime Minister. With that support, I am 100 percent sure that whatever is saleable will be sold, and whatever is not saleable also will be tried,” the official said. The source added that Privatisation 2019 is being met with stiff opposition everywhere, right from stakeholders to administrative ministries, employee unions, VIPs and members of Parliament. But the government has developed a thick skin, the official said. “It is not so easy to shed the 70-year-old mindset. Those who are sitting on the administrative control of PSUs don’t want their control to go. But the government is absolutely committed to privatisation,” the official said.

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‘Not too many PSUs on the radar’

The official said that it will not be a lot of companies where the government will make try to pare its ownership to below 51 percent. Even as the government goes through with such a move, the guiding principle would be to not cede control, the person added.

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