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We are taking all precautions in PSU disinvestement: Rajnath Singh

The government in Rajya Sabha defended its decision of strategic disinvestment in BEML saying disinvestment helps improving management efficiency through professional competence and also allows the government to focus on its core functions instead of non-core sectors

We are taking all precautions in PSU disinvestement: Rajnath Singh
We are taking all precautions in PSU disinvestement: Rajnath Singh

New Delhi: Public sector company BEML is being disinvested. The government on Monday defended its decision of strategic disinvestment in Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) that is involved in manufacturing sectors of defence, rail and mining sectors. The government has 54.03% shareholding in the PSU and 26% of its stake is being divested. Putting a full stop on all the questions being raised by opposition members, Rajnath Singh said all aspects of the strategic sale are taken into account before disinvesting in a PSU.

'All precautions are taken'

"If strategic disinvestment is being done, all precautions are being taken so that there is no question mark on our national security. We are taking all precautions and national security is foremost for our government," defence minister told Rajya Sabha. He also said that all the governments have followed the policy of disinvestment and it has been recommended by Niti Aayog as well. Singh said BEML has businesses in several segments and the defence segment has only 16.16% while its rail and network business comprises 31.12% of its total business and mining and construction is 52.27%. "It is not that defence work is being done in 100% of the total work done by the company," he said, adding that a committee decides on the disinvestment.

'Disinvestment helps improving efficiency'

The Government has not deferred the privatisation of BEML, the defence minister said in a written reply to a query. "The Government had given 'in-principle' approval for strategic disinvestment of BEML Ltd. to the extent of 26 pc out of the Government shareholding of 54.03% with the transfer of management control to a strategic buyer," Singh said. The Minister defended the decision of the government saying disinvestment helps to improve management efficiency through professional competence and also allows the government to focus on its core functions instead of non-core sectors. "Government of India is promoting Indian manufacturing companies in the defence sector and this disinvestment is being done while keeping this aspect in mind," the minister said when some opposition members alleged that the government is selling out profitable defence PSUs.

"Government of India is promoting Indian manufacturing companies in the defence sector and this disinvestment is being done while keeping this aspect in mind,"-Rajnath Singh, Defence minister

While posing serious questions on the procedure followed by the government in order to disinvest the PSU, Congress leader A K Antony, a former defence minister, said defence PSUs were started after carefully studying national security and national interests.

Disinvestment against national interest- Congress

"Our former PMs from Jawaharlal Nehru onwards thought that whatever happens in any eventuality, our armed forces should not suffer and be dependent on foreign vendors. That is why these defence PSU were started and most defence PSUs are running profitably.

"The government is one by one privatising defence PSUs and this is the latest one. Why is the government going below 51% and this policy is against national security and national interests,"-AK Antony, Fmr Defence minister

"The government is one by one privatising defence PSUs and this is the latest one. Why is the government going below 51% and this policy is against national security and national interests," he said. Elaborating on the BEML disinvestment, the minister said, "The strategic disinvestment process has 16 steps and only five steps have been accomplished so far in this case."

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