Finance Minister P Chidambaram, on Monday, exuded confidence on mopping up the targeted Rs.30,000 crore through sell-off of the Centre’s equity stake in identified public sector undertakings (PSUs) in the remaining five months of the current fiscal.
“[The] government expects to realise the budgeted receipts under disinvestment,” Mr. Chidambaram said at a press conference here while unveiling the Centre’s five-year roadmap for fiscal consolidation.
The Department of Disinvestment, the Finance Minister said, had obtained Cabinet clearance for disinvestment in Hindustan Copper, Nalco, SAIL, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam, BHEL, Oil India, MMTC and NMDC. To a question on offloading the residual stakes in Hindustan Zinc and Balco — the two erstwhile PSUs in which the Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Group has the majority holding — he said: “I think the paper has been moved by the Mines Ministry. So, I suppose the Ministry of Finance will offer its comments, and [the] matter will go to the Cabinet.”
As of now, owing to uncertain market conditions, the government has been unable to raise any funds through disinvestment even as seven months of the current fiscal are already over. That explains the hectic pre-issue activity on the divestment front, and the Ministry’s action plan to push through the divestment of the PSUs lined up for 2012-13 to meet the budgeted mop-up target.
In fact, during the current financial year, the market conditions were so weak that the government has had to defer the initial public offering (IPO) of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam. Its Rs.2,500-crore issue was originally proposed to hit the markets in July.
During the last fiscal also, the government could manage to garner a mere Rs.14,000 crore as against the disinvestment target of Rs.40,000 crore owing to the very same reason.