Govt will monetise or modernise public sector enterprises: PM Modi
Modi also said the Centre’s policy is to either monetise or modernise public sector enterprises, with the intent that the government has “no business to be in business”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India will “monetise or modernise” state-owned assets and that the government’s focus should be on public welfare schemes and development, rather than engaging in business.
“The government will go forward with the mantra of monetise or modernise,” he said at a webinar on disinvestment and asset monetisation attended by industry executives and top government officials on Wednesday. “PSEs (public sector enterprises) should not be run because they were started many years ago or they were someone’s pet project.”
Taxpayers shouldn’t have to continue supporting loss-making state-owned companies as they are a drag on the economy, he said, backing reforms and steps toward privatisation.
The government’s business activities may lead to losses, constricting resources, Modi said. Fear of corruption allegations, legal proceedings and lack of courage in taking commercial decisions has hobbled PSEs, leading to stagnation.
The government should be responsible for supporting the enterprises but “there is no need for the government to be in business,” he said.
The Centre has identified about 100 assets — including airports, seaports and others in the oil, gas and power sectors — in its asset-monetisation pipeline, which will create investment opportunities of nearly ?2.5 lakh crore.
Asset-Monetisation Pipeline Being Readied
This will open up space for the private sector, which will bring investment, global best practices, top quality manpower as well as efficiency and job creation. Proceeds from selling government assets will be channelled into public welfare schemes and infrastructure development for the poor, which will, in turn, empower Indian citizens. “The country cannot wait any longer for basic necessities,” he said.
As part of the new PSE policy, the government will ensure that only the requisite number of state-owned companies remain in the four strategic sectors that have been identified.
Policy will evolve from an annual disinvestment target to a medium-term strategic approach, which will help in selection of individual PSEs and create a clear road map for investment opportunities in each sector and job creation opportunities for the country, Modi said.
India will have to learn from global best practices to create a detailed road map for proper price discovery and stakeholder mapping to ensure transparency, competition and policy stability for privatisation. “The decisions being taken should help people and the sector,” the Prime Minister said.
Attracting Global Investors
Modi said the government has undertaken several reforms to make India an attractive destination. An empowered group of secretaries will address investor-related issues and also set up a single point of contact to help large investors on a step-by-step basis.
The government is working on the Rs 111-lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline, which will offer investment opportunities of about Rs 25 lakh crore in several projects. Work is on in full swing on modern infrastructure and multi-modal connectivity for Aatmanirbhar Bharat, he said.
India is working toward providing plug-and-play facilities for global investors. Many global companies are thinking of setting up their offices in India and could benefit from using the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) as their base, he said.
Modi sought the participation of, and suggestions from, global investors on the government’s privatisation and asset-monetisation policies. “You have global experience; your suggestions will help us in speeding up the implementation and creating a road map,” he said.
The budget has addressed issues of tax improvement for attracting sovereign and infrastructure funds, Modi said. “This budget has shown a clear roadmap to take India on a high growth trajectory,” he said, adding that it also focuses on a strong partnership with the private sector, and disinvestment and asset monetisation are important aspects of it.