Criticising the Union government’s aggressive disinvestment policy, M. Mallikarjun Kharge, the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were going to sell valuable public sector units (PSUs) that were contributing to the country’s economy to a few corporate houses that were close to the BJP and its leaders. He said that the disinvestment process would have a devastating effect on the economy by rendering millions of people jobless.
“They [the BJP] often question what Congress has done for the country. The fact that the Modi government is planning to earn revenues of ₹6 lakh crore in the next four years by public asset monetisation itself speaks volumes about what Congress has done for the country. There are 366 PSUs in the country which together are making a profit of around ₹1.5 lakh crore every year. They have not been established by the Modi government in the last seven years but by Congress governments over decades after independence. The Congress created these valuable assets that are contributing to the national economy and the BJP is simply selling them at throwaway prices. The BJP’s business is changing the names of existing programmes and institutions and not creating new ones,” Mr. Kharge said.
He was addressing a press conference at Aiwan-E-Shahi guest house in Kalaburagi on Sunday.
According to him, only 172 of the total 366 PSUs were incurring a loss of around ₹45,000 crore a year and there was no need to go for privatisation of PSUs on the pretext of loss. “If you subtract the loss of ₹45,000 crore from the total profit of ₹1.5 lakh crore, you will still have more than ₹1 lakh crore profits,” he said.
As per the details he provided, the Union government had a plan to earn ₹1.6 lakh crore from roads, ₹1.52 lakh crore from rail, and ₹45,000 crore from the power sector.
“26,700 km of roads would be given to private companies for toll collection. As many as 400 railway stations will be handed over to private parties and 150 private trains will run on government tracks. In essence, these private companies exploit the common people by overcharging so that they can pay the lease amount to the government and make a profit for themselves,” he said.
Alleging nepotism in the process of public asset monetisation, the Congress veteran said that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister were out to sell the public sector assets to selected corporate houses which were close to them.
“This is crony capitalism. They [Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah] are selling the public assets to a few capitalists of their choice. The latter’s financial help during the elections is thus repaid by the former. It will render millions of people jobless and devastate the economy. The BJP came to power by promising 2 crore jobs a year. Let alone creating new jobs, it is taking away the existing jobs, ” Mr. Kharge said adding that the privatisation of big PSUs like HAL, HMT, BHEL, Air India and BSNL would render even the highly qualified and skilled employees jobless.