Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, on Friday, told heads of large state-owned companies that the government would not accept lesser dividend than what it received during the last financial year.
“Dividend payments by public sector undertakings (PSUs) will not be less than last year’s. In no case will we accept dividend less than last year’s,” he told reporters after meeting heads of blue-chip PSUs such as Oil and Natural Gas Corp, Indian Oil Corp, GAIL India, Steel Authority of India, NTPC and Coal India.
The government is seeking to keep its fiscal deficit within the budgetary target of 4.8 per cent of GDP. Higher dividend from PSUs would make up part of the shortfall from disinvestment and lower receipts in other heads of accounts due to slowing economic growth.
The Ministry, according to officials, is hopeful of meeting the dividend receipt target in the current fiscal, and has not sought any special dividend. However, they said the situation would be reviewed in January.
The government received Rs.55,443 crore as dividend and profit in the last fiscal. The target in the current financial year is Rs.73,866 crore.
Mr. Chidambaram also discussed capital expansion plans of the PSUs with the objective of promoting investment and growth. “Most of the PSUs will achieve their capex plan. Some half-a-dozen may not. We will revisit those cases in January,” the Minister said.
Most of the PSU heads assured the Minister that they would meet the capex target for the current fiscal.
ONGC Chairman Sudhir Vasudeva told reporters, “the Finance Minister was fully satisfied by the performance of ONGC. Our first half capex target was over Rs.14,000 crore. We have spent 99.3 per cent. We will spend this fiscal year’s capex plan of Rs.35,000 crore. We have cash of around Rs.13,000 crore.”
SAIL was confident of achieving its capex target for the current fiscal, Chairman C. S. Verma told reporters.
“We have met 87 per cent of the capex target of first half of the year. We will meet the capex target of whole year, which is Rs.11,500 crore”, he said.