Disinvestment no solution to economic crisis: Mamata
Kolkata: Raising money by selling shares of public sector companies cannot be the permanent solution to the economic slowdown, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Thursday and advised the Centre to consult experts and talk to all parties to thrash out the issue.
On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave in-principle approval to the strategic disinvestment in five state-run companies, including a sale of the government's entire stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), while retaining its ownership of Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) through another public sector company.
Coming down heavily on the Centre for its proposal to disinvest profit-making Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded that an all-party meeting be convened immediately.
Talking to the media in Murshidabad before leaving for Kolkata on Thursday afternoon, she said the Trinamool Congress is against the proposal but some merger of companies on positive ground may be allowed.
She felt that the Centre should talk to economic experts on the matter before making a final decision who may come up with effective solutions to resolve the impasse.
"The disinvestment of profit-making PSUs will not help the Centre to come out of the ongoing economic crisis, which the country is facing at the moment. The Centre says that it will be able to collect Rs 1.76 lakh crore or Rs 1.80 lakh crore. However, this money will not help the Centre to come out of the problem. This policy is wrong. How can you propose disinvestment of profit-making PSUs to tide over the financial crunch? This will go ad infinitum and every time you face an economic crisis you will have to disinvest profit-making companies."
Banerjee criticised the proposed disinvestment of Bharat Petroleum and Bengal Chemical. "Bengal Chemical is a profit-making company and the Centre has included it in the list of companies that will be disinvested shortly. By doing this the Centre will disinvest the whole country. As responsible citizens how can we allow this?" she said.
The Chief Minister also pulled the Centre up on its demonetisation move and said it is still a worry. It was Banerjee who had first criticised the note ban shortly after the decision was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016. Banerjee had said the move would ruin the country's economy and would badly affect the business sector. Long queues were seen outside nationalised banks. More than 100 people died while waiting in those queues.
Later, economists from all over the globe echoed her thoughts. The country's economy was adversely hit. The growth rate fell drastically and thousands became jobless. In several offices, employees experienced cuts in their salaries. Many Bengal workers, who had gone to other states including Gujarat and Rajasthan, lost their jobs. They were provided financial assistance from the state government.
Since the note ban, the financial condition of the country has gone from bad to worse. Experts have said unless the Centre takes concrete measures for economic revival, the nation is going to face a major crisis in the near future.
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