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Updated: November 21, 2009 00:31 IST

Disinvestment: Centre should speed up process

Special Correspondent
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A file picture of Mr. Vijay Kelkar, Chairman, 13th Finance Commission. Photo: PTI
A file picture of Mr. Vijay Kelkar, Chairman, 13th Finance Commission. Photo: PTI

Kelkar to submit the 13th Finance Commission report to the President by December 31.

Stating that the 13th Finance Commission would submit its report containing recommendations mainly on the sharing of taxes between the Centre and the States by December 31, its Chairman Vijay Kelkar on Friday said the Government should speed up the disinvestment process to generate funds for creating new assets, including those related to environment protection.

Speaking at the release of the Green India 2047, a report by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Mr. Kelkar said the government should pursue the disinvestment programme more energetically to reshuffle its assets for the country’s new needs. “I would urge the government to really have even more ambitious programme of disinvestment over the next several years essentially to restructure the capital base. The needs of the country have changed over the decades,” he said. Valuing the public sector units, both listed and unlisted, at $300-400 billion, Mr. Kelkar said the country needed to restructure its assets by moving half of the capital to areas that only the government could take care of.

“On mark-to-market basis, our PSUs are valued between $300 billion and $400 billion. If you disinvest 50 per cent then you have $200-billion fund,” he said. Without jeopardising the national capital, the fund could be used for new needs like environment, urban infrastructure, need for solar energy and mass rapid transport system. Stating that the domestic capital market is more sophisticated now, unlike in the past, he said the government should retreat from industries which could be handled by the private sector players.

“We don’t now require public sector hotels, airlines, even many other areas. Earlier, we did not have capital market, we did not have entrepreneurship. Building environment is a new capital requirement,” he added. Mr. Kelkar said the Commission would submit its report to the President, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, on December 31 and it could contain a number of points on this issue.

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