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Govt to go ahead with PSU disinvestment: Jaitley

Govt to go ahead with PSU disinvestment: Jaitley
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“I don’t read too much on daily movements as far as markets are concerned. By and large with the health of economy recovering, I see much greater stability as far as markets are concerned. <g data-gr-id="46">And</g> therefore, the disinvestment programme of the government will continue as it has been planned,” he told reporters. The benchmark BSE Sensex fell for the third straight day today on RBI’s cautious stance on economic recovery and concerns on deficient monsoon. The gauge has lost 1,035.57 points in last three sessions.

There are also apprehensions that the impending US Fed rate hike could lead to <g data-gr-id="56">flight</g> of foreign funds away from Indian capital markets, thus impacting the disinvestment plan. Although the disinvestment department has got approval from Cabinet for selling minority stakes worth about Rs 50,000 crore in a host of PSUs, it has only been able to divest stake in one company -- REC -- so far this fiscal. The Cabinet has approved <g data-gr-id="54">sale</g> of 5 per cent stakes in ONGC, BHEL and NTPC as well as 10 per cent each in IOC, NALCO and NMDC. As per the Public Enterprise Survey 2013-14, India has 234 Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE) of which 46 are listed.

The Minister further said that the food management was the responsibility of the government and the buffer stocks would be used to calm down prices. “Food management is <g data-gr-id="52">responsibility</g> of the government and last year’s rainfall was much lower than this year’s prediction and rainfall happened with lag. But we did not allow prices to go up because we have <g data-gr-id="51">huge</g> buffer of food grains. <g data-gr-id="50">And</g> therefore, the government has this tool available,” Jaitley added.

The Minister further said that the situation in the current year was likely to be better than what it was in the previous fiscal. “As far as inflationary trends are concerned by and large on account of food management and the extent of food stocks we have, we have kept it under control,” he said, adding there could be some impact on prices of certain commodities because of seasonal factors. Last year the government managed to contain the prices of onions and tomatoes, he said, adding currently the steps were being taken to deal with <g data-gr-id="68">shortage</g> of pulses. 

“At the moment there has been some impact (of seasonal factors) as far as pulses are concerned. This could happen on account of various factors. Department of Food in the last few weeks has been holding measures to increase the supply as <g data-gr-id="66">far</g> market is concerned so that sudden spurt in prices of pulses could be contained,” he said. Inflation in pulses stood at 15.38 <g data-gr-id="71">per cent</g> in April, up from 13.22 <g data-gr-id="72">per cent</g> in March. The rate of price rise in Pulses has been in double digit for four consecutive months. The government, Jaitley said, was going to take a decision on raising the minimum support price of farm products. 

“The process of consultation is going on. Soon it will go to the Cabinet,” he said. On the recent dip in the stock markets, Jaitley said that there was no basis to justify that it was a trend. “A day or two <g data-gr-id="49">reaction</g> in the market itself never indicates a trend ... I don’t read too much on daily movements as far as markets are concerned. “...By and large with the health of economy recovering, I see much greater stability as far as markets are concerned. <g data-gr-id="48">And</g> therefore, the disinvestment programme of the government will continue as it has been planned,” he added. 
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