NEW DELHI: After achieving the ambitious target of raising Rs 1 lakh crore from the disinvestment in the fiscal year 2017-18, the Finance Ministry is considering revising the target for the current fiscal with Air India and 36 companies lined up for strategic disinvestment.
“The last financial year was very good for disinvestment and we were able to achieve even the revised targets. Now we expect that this year is also going to be good and we will be able to surpass our budget estimate.
So going forward it may be revised further,” a senior official from Finance Ministry told The New Indian Express.
In the current fiscal the government aims to mop up Rs 80,000 crore through PSU disinvestment, against Rs 1 lakh crore collected last fiscal which ended on March 31. This is for the first time in last seven years the government has been able to achieve the disinvestment target. The Centre initially had set the target of Rs 75,000 crore for the financial year 2017-18 which was again revised to `1 lakh crore.
The centre finally mopped up Rs 1,00,056.91 crore from the disinvestment, including the sale of stakes in Bharat 22 ETF and offers for sale and buyback of shares by PSUs and management of Suuti holdings in several firms.
“The initial budget target is on the conservative side and it can be revised by 20-25 per cent. With Air India and so many other IPOs in the pipeline, the target is very much achievable. This will also help us to bridge the fiscal deficit,” the official added.
Apart from disinvestment of Air India, the government also had announced a merger of three public sector insurance companies — Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd, National Insurance Co. Ltd and United India Insurance Co. Ltd in the budget — followed by a listing.
Experts claim that merger of this three state-run insurers will be a key part of the government’s divestment target for the fiscal year 2018-19. Higher disinvestment revenue remains crucial for managing fiscal deficit, amidst the concern over lower than expected revenue collection under the Goods and Services Tax (GST).