‘Against blanket sale of loss-making PSUs’
The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate came out against the blanket sale of loss-making public sector undertakings (PSUs) and said these bodies can be professionalised to improve their performance, employees can be taken into confidence and trusted to turn the organisations around, and that it would be wrong to malign them all as useless.
In a wide ranging discussion with a business news channel that was telecast on Friday, Narendra Modi avoided a direct commitment on the issue of privatisation of organisations such as Coal India, but said that if necessary, such decisions must be taken without political pressure, in the national interest, and ‘that is my USP’.
He indicated, however, that his preference was for saving PSUs from closure or sale, pointing out that in Gujarat, the state electricity board had an annual deficit of Rupees 2500 crore, but by introducing professionalism and technological upgradation, it improved its efficiency and stopped making losses. As chief minister, he said, the very first delegation that met him comprised employees of the State Fertilizer Corporation which was on the verge of closure. ‘The government drew up a plan and today it is one of the highest profit making PSUs in the state,’ he said.
Modi said that among Indian leaders ‘only I had the guts to stand among corporate leaders and get my picture taken; others meet secretly’. Gujarat, he elaborated, hosts the Vibrant Gujarat Investors Summit biannually, where investors from the country and abroad are invited, as to give employment to the youth there must be industrial development. Here, he said, half of one day is dedicated to the small and medium industries sector.