PSU Divestments To Go Ahead: Finance Minister


The government is working on completing the stake sale process of about 23 public sector companies whose divestment has already been cleared by the Cabinet, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

The minister also said she would soon meet small finance firms and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) to review the credit being extended by them to businesses.

Talking about disinvestment plans, the minister said the government wants to sell stake in public sector companies at a time when it fetches the right price.

“There are already nearly 22-23 such PSUs which have been cleared by the Cabinet for disinvestment. The intent is clear that at least for those which had already been cleared by the Cabinet, we will have to disinvest,” Sitharaman said.

“The final call as to which are the sectors which are going to be called ‘strategic’ is not made yet, that has to be announced and I can’t pre-empt what announcement is likely to come.

“But in those sectors which we are going to call strategic, the private will obviously be allowed to come in but the public sectors will be limited to a maximum of four units,” she said.

She said this would lead to consolidation of public sector undertakings (PSUs) as well as scaling up of their operations.

For the 2020-21 fiscal, the government has set a disinvestment target of Rs 2.10 lakh crore. Of this, Rs 1.20 lakh crore will come from disinvestment of public sector undertakings and another Rs 90,000 crore from stake sale in financial institutions.

With regard to extending credit to the industry, Sitharaman said under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS), micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) can avail loans.

As of July 23, 2020, the total amount sanctioned under the 100 per cent Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme by public and private sector banks stands at Rs 1,30,491.79 crore, of which Rs 82,065.01 crore has already been disbursed.

“Now I am pushing the banks saying that it’s not their risk, we have taken the risk on ourselves, they should now facilitate the process…

“We have very clearly told banks that they are not going to sit on judgement of anybody’s viability. Now it is the question of giving them resources, hand holding them so that they survive,” Sitharaman added.