Government May Privatize 6 PSUs by January 2022
Even as the government and the DIPAM are working overtime to complete the LIC IPO before March 2022, there is a simultaneous plan to privatize another 5 to 6 PSU and to complete the process by January 2022.
These are the PSU that have already been identified and earmarked for privatization. If that happens, it will be the first effective privatization done by the government in the last 19 years.
The government has already identified 5 PSUs for privatization in this round and may add one or two more. The list of 5 potential privatization candidates include BEML, Shipping Corporation of India, Pawan Hans, Central Electronics and Nilachal Ispat Nigam.
BEML has run into some issues with the employees unions that are opposing the privatization of the company. BEML essentially is a key player in heavy equipment and defence manufacture.
The government has already decided to exit most sectors where it does not see justification either in the form of being a strategic ownership or being specifically for the larger public good. Other that these handful of businesses, the government would be keen to exit all the other businesses.
For FY22, the government has set an aggressive target of Rs.175,000 crore to be raised via divestments and it is nowhere close with more than 7 months gone.
Of course, the government is counting on raising nearly Rs.50,000 crore from the sale of its 52.98% stake in BPCL and anywhere between 5% and 10% of LIC raising between Rs.60,000 crore and Rs.1,00,000 crore.
Even if both these deals go through smoothly, there would still be a gap and the plan to privatize these 5-6 entities is intended to fill that gap.
The government just completed the handing over of Air India to the Tatas and would be looking at more such candidates to hive off some of its PSU properties. Most of the PSUs are loss making and the government is spending big money maintaining them.
The divestment will not only free up capital resources but also allow the government to focus more on its core area of governance.
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