Niti Aayog submits list of names of public sector banks for privatisation
Niti Aayog on Thursday submitted the list of public sector banks that are to be privatised in the current fiscal year to the Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment, news agency PTI reported. The government think tank was responsible for the selection of the names of two public sector banks and one general insurance company for privatisation, as announced in the Budget 2021 - 2022.
“We have submitted the names (of PSU banks) to the Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment,” PTI, on Thursday, quoted a senior government official as saying.
Once the list receives clearance from the Core Group of Secretaries, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, the finalised names will then be forwarded to the Alternative Mechanism (AM) for approval. After this, the list will eventually go to the Cabinet, which is headed by the Prime Minister, for its final approval. After receiving Cabinet approval, changes on the regulator side to facilitate the privatisation would commence, the PTI report said.
The Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment also includes economic affairs secretary, revenue secretary, expenditure secretary, corporate affairs secretary, legal affairs secretary, Department of Public Enterprises' secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) secretary and administrative department secretary.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, earlier on March 16, had assured that the interests of all workers in the banks that are likely to be privatised would be protected, according to a news report by ANI. “We have announced a Public Enterprise Policy where we have identified four areas where public sector presence will be there. In this, the financial sector is there too. Not all banks are going to be privatised. Interests of workers of banks which are likely to be privatised will absolutely be protected -- whether their salaries or scale or pension, all will be taken care of” ANI quoted the finance minister as saying.
“Even for those banks which are likely to be privatised, the privatised institutions too will continue to function after privatisation; the interests of the staff will be protected,” she further said. “We need banks which are going to be able to scale up... We want banks that are going to be able to meet the aspirational needs of this country,” she added, explaining the reason behind privatisation.
The government has budgeted ₹1.75 lakh crore from stake sale in public sector companies and financial institutions, including 2 PSU banks and one insurance company, during the current financial year. The amount is lower than the record budgeted ₹2.10 lakh crore to be raised from CPSE disinvestment in the last fiscal.
(With inputs from agencies)