The government has already started work to revive the stalled disinvestment programme with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee saying that talks have been initiated with other ministries to identify public sector undertakings (PSUs) where a portion of government equity could be offloaded.
“My ministry has initiated discussions with other ministries to identify public sector undertakings, where a portion of government shareholding in PSUs could be sold to meet fund requirement,” he said in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, while replying to the debate on Budget 2009-10. “Details are being worked out and could be announced in due course.”
Officials indicated that the government plans to list profitable central public sector undertakings (CPSUs), each with a net worth of over Rs 200 crore, and equity divestment would be done by floating an initial public offering (IPO), either independently by the government or in conjunction with a fresh equity issue by the company concerned. There are 214 centrally-owned public sector companies, of which only 160 are profit-making. The rest have been making losses for years.
“It is our intention to enable PSUs to benefit from techno-managerial efficiencies and become more competitive in the market,” Mukherjee said.
He said there was “disappointment” that the budget did not give details of the government’s disinvestment agenda.