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India is confident of completing privatisation exercise this year after 17 years

Disinvestment target: Can we meet this year?

India, which has been struggling to divest several of its  public sector undertakings, is confident of completing the process of privatisation of Air India and BPCL among others that have been listed for disinvestment.

Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary in the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management has said that there is “sufficient interest” shown in these companies.

Speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s annual session he said, “This year we will finally see PSUs being privatised after a long span of 17 years.”

Also read: ADB lowers India's growth projection to 10% this year from earlier 11%

Pandey added that the initial public offering of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), will also be done this year.

"After 17 years the country will finally see privatization, the last one happened in 2003-04," Pandey said.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, presenting the Union Budget 2021-22, set a lower disinvestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore compared to 2.1 lakh crore in 2020-21. The disinvestment exercise will be crucial for the government for garnering revenue in the next financial year amid tight fiscal constraints.

The government has proposed to take up two public sector banks along with a general insurance company for disinvestment in the new financial year besides launching the IPO of LIC.

Sitharaman added that the proposed strategic sale of BPCL, IDBI Bank, Container Corporation, Shipping Corp, Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd, Pawan Hans, Air India, among others, would be completed during the year.