Significant port trusts, AAI out of the scope of PSE tactical divestment

NEW DELHI: Particular classes of public sector entities, like significant port trusts, Airport Authority of India, those undertaking security printing and minting, will not fall within the province of the brand-new PSE policy for strategic disinvestment.The new Public Sector Business (PSE) policy for Aatmanirbhar Bharat, which classifies public sector commercial enterprises as strategic and non-strategic sector, would be restricted to main public sector business, public sector banks and public sector insurance provider.”The policy, however, does not apply to particular classes of public sector entities such as not-for-profit business or CPSEs providing assistance to susceptible groups or having developmental/promotional roles,” said the scope of the PSE policy announced in the Budget.Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Budget revealed the Disinvestment/Strategic Disinvestment Policy, which had 4 strategic sectors in which “bare minimum” number of CPSEs will be retained and the rest would be privatised or combined or made subsidiary of another CPSE or closed down.The 4 sectors are atomic energy, space and defence; transportation and telecommunications; power, petroleum, coal and other minerals; and banking, insurance and monetary services in non-strategic sectors, CPSEs will be privatised, or will be considered for closure.The classes of public sector entities which would run out the scope of the brand-new PSE policy consist of public sector entities in the nature of development and regulative authorities, autonomous organisations, advancement financing or refinancing institutions.Major port trusts and Airport Authority of India, set up under the Acts of Parliament, would not fall within its ambit.Further, CPSEs concerned with providing assistance to susceptible groups through financing of SCs, STs, minorities, backward classes and safai karmacharis etc, or manufacturing aids and appliances for Divyangs or those helping farmers in generally getting access to seeds, promoting innovation in farming, or procurement and distribution of food for Public Distribution System would not be covered under the policy.The policy would not encompass CPSEs associated with security printing and minting, or keeping important data having bearing on the nationwide security.Also departments of the Government, like Railways and Posts, that carry out industrial operations with an advancement required would not be within the scope of the PSE policy.The PSE policy mentions that NITI Aayog will recommend the CPSEs under strategic sectors that are to be maintained under federal government control or to be considered for privatisation or merger or putting under the control of another PSE or for closure.The alternative mechanism for tactical disinvestment, comprising Financing Minister, Roadway Transportation Minister and Ministers of the Administrative Ministries willl offer final approval for the CPSEs to be kept, or privatised or merged or made subsidiary or closed down.The Department of Investment and Public Possession Management, which handles federal government equity in public sector companies, will approach the Cabinet for strategic disinvestment of a particular PSE from time-to-time, on a case-to-case basis.The budget has actually set a target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore to be mopped up from disinvestment. Of this, Rs 1 lakh crore is estimated to come from sale of federal government stake in PSU banks and insurance provider and Rs 75,000 crore from CPSE stake sale.

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