While sticking to the divestment goals, the Prime Minister’s office has asked the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) not to take divestment and merger decision in haste and to work on setting “realistic” deadline for it.
In March, NITI Aayog was tasked with identifying non-core assets of various CPSEs, both healthy and sick ones, that could be put on the block and the think-tank gave a list of over 50 such assets. Apart from that NITI Aayog had also given a list of sick PSUs and gave suggestions for merger.
However, in the latest meeting PMO has maintained that the goals to achieve divestment process of all the PSUs in the list has to be done in the span of five years and ministries should not do it is haste. “There was a long list given by NITI Aayog on monetization of assets, divestment and possible merger smaller PSUs. However in the latest meeting PMO office was not in the favour of doing it in haste and advised Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) to take due consultation and to give realistic deadline for the process,” a senior official from the DIPAM told this publication.
The government in the last fiscal had collected Rs 84,972 crore from CPSE disinvestment, of which Rs15,914 crore came in from strategic stake sale. This year it has set an ambitious Rs90,000 crore disinvestment target for the current fiscal, the monetising non-core assets of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) was on the top list of the government.
Earlier this month, the government extended the timeline for the merger of three public sector general insurance firms: National Insurance Company, United India Insurance Company and Oriental India Insurance Company, to 18 months, which was earlier planned to be merged this year.
That apart, it had also aborted the proposal for merger of public sector oil companies for the time being. The reason cited was because the merger between the Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) was not smooth and led to multiple problems. As a result, PMO has advised against any further experiments.