NEW DELHI: The Centre will consider raising its disinvestment target for 2019-20 over the budgeted Rs 1.05 lakh crore, said government officials. Besides the public offerings of PSU shares and sale of PSU lands, which are already in the pipeline, the government is contemplating going in for a string of strategic disinvestments to raise resources, according to them.
The move is seen as the government making up for a shortfall in taxes arising after Rs 1.45 lakh crore worth corporate tax giveaway and a likely shortfall in GST collections.
Among the public sector undertakings in which the government has shown interest in selling strategic stakes are Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Bharat Earthmovers Ltd (BEML) and Nilachal Ispat Nigam Ltd (NNIL). Rumours of the strategic sale of BPCL shares have already seen the stock of the oil refining and marketing company rise from Rs 377.80 a week ago to Rs 462.70 on Wednesday. BPCL was earlier Burmah Shell Company, owned by the Burmah Oil Company and Shell of UK. The firm was nationalised in the 1970s along with Esso of USA, which was renamed as HPCL.
The government has managed to raise only Rs 12,357 crore so far, out of the budgeted target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore, which is 30 per cent more than last year’s disinvestment target. Most of the money (about Rs 10,000 crore) has been raised by floating an equity-traded fund — the CPSE-ETF. Of the rest, Rs 1881.21 has been raised through the sale of enemy shares and Rs 475.89 from disinvestment in Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd.
The government has also shortlisted some 11 consultancy firms to assist with the sale of non-core assets of PSUs including land buildings and brownfield operational assets such as pipelines, roads, mobile towers and electricity transmission lines. These firms include RITES, Boston Consultancy Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and KPMG. Officials say that their remit will be to identify and sell all non-core assets, which can be monetised. "Much of that work is already on and is nearing completion," they said.