NEW DELHI: The government has stepped up its strategic divestment drive, with premier think tank Niti Aayog recommending immediate stake sales in 12 central public sector enterprises (CPSEs). Companies identified in the second round include National Textile Corporation, Fertilisers and Chemicals TravancoreBSE 2.53 %, Hindustan Antibiotics, Scooters IndiaBSE 4.99 % and Hindustan Fluorocarbons.
A senior government official that the Aayog has recently sent a list of a dozen CPSEs for strategic disinvestment to a core group of secretaries headed by the cabinet secretary. This group will make final suggestions to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on the mode and quantum of strategic disinvestment.
Once approved by the cabinet, the process will be kickstarted by the department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM) in consultation with departments and ministries concerned.
Companies identified in the second round are from departments and ministries including pharmaceuticals, fertilisers, petrochem, shipping, defence and housing and urban poverty alleviation. “The government will continue to push for closure and strategic sale of loss-making CPSEs,” said the official, adding that DIPAM has begun the process in most units identified and approved earlier.
For the next fiscal, the government has set a mammoth disinvestment target of Rs 72,500 crore, of which Rs 15,000 crore is to come through strategic sales. In the current fiscal, the government had budgeted Rs 28,000 crore through such stake sales but hasn’t been able to move forward.
In the past few months, Niti Aayog has recommended strategic sales in 15 CPSEs, three units of SAIL and one of the National Mineral Development Corporation, taking the total number of sick and loss-making CPSEs identified for strategic sale to more than 40.
Some firms identified for strategic sale earlier include Pawan Hans, BEML, Dredging Corporation and Bharat Pumps and Compressors. The nodal departments and ministries, in consultation with DIPAM, are in the process of appointing transaction advisers for some of these units.
Earlier this year, DIPAM had detailed the mechanism for listing state-run firms. The government will look to list all its companies that have a positive net worth, no accumulated losses and have earned profit in three preceding years. According to the Public Enterprise Survey 2014-15, there are 157 profit-making companies, of which 45 are listed.