In a bid to shore up its revenue kitty, the government plans to ask public sector units (PSUs) to shell out more dividends in the form of “special dividends” during the current fiscal year.
The finance ministry is left with little headroom to cut further expenditure and could look at tapping cash-rich PSUs as part of its plan to boost revenues and fuel growth, said official sources.
“The finance ministry, already betting big on the disinvestment exercise and sale of spectrum to boost revenues and contain fiscal deficit, is also looking for more avenues that generate revenue to tackle the fiscal deficit.”Finance minister P Chidambaram has said the government would meet the Rs. 30,000-crore disinvestment target and raise Rs. 40,000 crore from spectrum auction.
He has also said that all steps would be taken taken to restrict fiscal deficit for the current fiscal year to 5.3% while promoting investments to spurring growth.
The government had earlier set a fiscal deficit target of 5.1% for the fiscal year.
“The government would have to look into all avenues to boost its revenue and one of the ways may well be tapping the cash-rich PSUs,” a senior government official said on the condition of anonymity.
At a recent meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with CPSE heads, the government had said that huge cash surpluses need to be deployed. “If the money is lying idle, it should be paid back to the government as special dividend,” the official said.
The PM has already ordered a committee under Cabinet secretary and Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia to look into the investment plans of PSUs.