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Govt open to full ‘strategic’ sale of some PSUs: Jaitley

Govt open to full ‘strategic’ sale of some PSUs: Jaitley
The government is looking at an outright sale of certain public sector undertakings through a strategic partner, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday indicating the first such sale could of PSUs under the Tourism Ministry. "When I say strategic, there are some on which there is no difficulty in even strategic sales. I think the Ministry of Tourism themselves may take some initiatives," he told reporters.

Listed PSU under the Ministry of Tourism is ITDC while there are several other unlisted properties, including hotels. In his budget speech in Lok Sabha on February 28, Jaitley had said government's stake sale programme will include some strategic disinvestment. For the full fiscal, the government has budgeted to raise Rs 28,500 crore through <g data-gr-id="27">strategic</g> sale. This is over and above Rs 41,000 crore to be raised through divestment of minority stakes in PSUs.

On selling minority stakes in listed PSUs, Jaitley said the capital markets are moving up and down. "I do not know what is the appropriate time the Department (of Disinvestment) will decide but the enabling permissions have been granted. Now it is for the Department to choose the right make and the right time," he said. Last month, the government had sold its 5 per cent stake in REC. The government yesterday took a decision to sell 10 per cent of its stake in blue-chip Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and 5 per cent in power producer NTPC to mop up about Rs 13,600 crore. For the current fiscal, the government has identified more than a dozen PSUs for <g data-gr-id="32">stake</g> sale, including National Fertilizers, MMTC, Hindustan Copper and ITDC. The Cabinet has also approved <g data-gr-id="31">sale</g> of 5 per cent stake each in ONGC and Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL), and 10 per cent each in NALCO and NMDC.

Between 2001-02 and 2003-04, the NDA government had sold shares either through strategic stake sale (involving an effective transfer of control and management to a private entity) or through an offer for sale to the public. The PSUs in which equity was offloaded as part of the strategic sale between 2001-04, include BALCO, HZL, CMC, ITDC, VSNL, Maruti Suzuki, Jessop & Company, Hotel Corporation of India and Indian Petrochemicals. 

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