“PSUs’ sale, labour reforms coming”

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday hinted that some big-ticket economic reforms were on the anvil.

Speaking at the India Economic Summit organised by the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry, Mr. Jaitley said these could include sale of loss-making public sector units, easier norms for land acquisition and labour law reforms.

He, however, added that rectifying the economy would take “a lot of time.” “The pit was reasonably deep; rectifying it is going to take a lot of time. A large number of steps are needed,” the Minister said.

Mr. Jaitley said the government’s current policy was divestment rather than outright privatisation, but he would be open to selling off loss-making public sector units.

“There will be divestment as some important public undertakings are on the verge of closure. But on foreign investment, decisions will be made sector-wise, keeping in mind the requirements of the Indian economy and the appetite of the political system for reform,” he said.

The Minister said the government was looking at changing some “illogical provisions” of the land acquisition law, besides improving and rationalising labour laws.

To a specific question on the bottlenecks created by the land acquisition law, Mr. Jaitley said he would focus on easing the procedural complications, in particular a provision that he felt could render land acquisition difficult for building smart cities, a key initiative of the Narendra Modi government.

This provision, Mr. Jaitley said, disallows private schools, hospitals and hotels on land acquired by the government.

On labour law reforms, the Minister said, “Some aspects of the labour laws in India can certainly be improved and rationalised.”

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 6:07:07 AM |

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