Govt has no business to be in business: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced investment opportunities worth ₹2.5 trillion in the national asset monetization pipeline outlined in the Union Budget, through the sale of around 100 assets of central public sector enterprises (CPSEs).
“Today, there are many underutilized and unutilized assets under the control of the government. We have set the target to monetize around 100 assets in oil, gas, port, airport and power sectors. This process will continue in future also. The government is moving ahead with the mantra of ‘monetize and modernize’,” Modi said while addressing a webinar on privatization and asset monetization attended by investment bankers, sovereign and pension funds as well as domestic and international investors.
Modi said it is not necessary or possible for the government to remain the owner of so many CPSEs and the government should rather focus on public welfare and development. “That’s why I say government has no business to remain in business,” he added.
The government faces many limitations in the decision-making process, he admitted. “Everybody remains afraid of innumerable accusations and legal tangles. That is why the thinking within the government has been to let things remain as they are.”
DIPAM secretary Tuhin Kant Pandey said the objective of the webinar is to jointly develop an effective implementation plan for the bold reforms for privatization and asset monetization.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled a PSE policy providing a roadmap for disinvestment in all non-strategic and four strategic sectors. She said the Centre aims to keep “bare minimum” CPSEs in four strategic sectors and privatise the rest of the CPSEs or shut the unviable ones. The four buckets of strategic sectors are atomic energy, space and defence; transport and telecommunications; power, petroleum, coal and other minerals; banking, insurance and financial services.
Modi said the FY22 budget has put forward a clear roadmap to put the economy on a high-growth trajectory and the PSE policy announced in the Budget aims at right utilization of public money. “There are many public sector enterprises which are loss-making. Many of them need to be supported through taxpayers’ money. The money on which poor and youth have the right is spent on these enterprises and because of this, the CPSEs also prove to be a burden on the economy,” he added.
Modi said the government will ensure transparency, competition, stable policies and processes for the medium-term strategic disinvestment policy in the Budget. “For this along with a detailed roadmap, proper price discovery and stakeholder mapping, we have to learn from the global best practices. We have to keep in mind that the decisions that are taken benefit the public as well as help in development of that sector,” he added.