THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The public sector segment of the state is still filled with a good number of loss-making and sick public sector units (PSUs). This is the scene even after the PSU sector has arguably undergone a sea change in the recent period by redefining the state’s role as a facilitator and infusing fund into the sector to bring ailing PSUs into the growth track. The Public Sector Restructuring and Internal Audit Board (RIAB) report on the health of the public sector units in the state in the last fiscal reveals most of the PSUs still remain trapped in the debt circle.
The report shows the PSUs in the chemical and electronic sectors have put up a good show in the last fiscal by registering net profit, while the textiles sector continues to burn a hole in the coffers of the state, running into huge losses. Out of the 43 PSUs in the state, only 13 PSUs could register a profit in the last fiscal and operational profit by 17 PSUs. The chemical industries registered the highest total profit of Rs 189.05 crore with the Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd clocking the highest of `163.28 crore out of the seven PSUs in the segment.
The electronic sector has also recorded a net profit of Rs 9.64 crore with Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation Ltd leading in the table of three PSUs in the sector with the highest profit of Rs 8.50 crore.
Further, the development and infrastructure agencies have also registered a net profit of Rs 39.49 crore with KSIDC netting a profit of Rs 41.83 crore in the segment which has three agencies. The lone Forest Industries (Travancore) Ltd also registered a meagre profit of Rs 0.35 crore in the last fiscal.
The rest of the segments like electrical, engineering, textiles, ceramic and refractories, and traditional industries are still a liability to the state. Among the various loss-making sectors, the textiles segment is the biggest loss-maker with all the 11 PSUs in the sector registering loss, taking the cumulative loss of the segment to `94.17 crore. This is followed by the engineering sector with a loss of Rs 42.66 crore and traditional industries sector with a total loss of Rs 22.15 crore. The electric equipment sector suffered a net loss of `20.43 crore followed by the ceramic and refractories sector with a loss of `9.03 crore.
Though the state has been striving hard for reforming the public sector undertakings, it has a lot more to do for revamping the structure and management of the loss-making PSUs and it has to seriously think about chalking out a strategy or a plan to recoup the traditional sector as it has been accumulating huge losses over the years.
The state government has plans to bring more PSUs in the growth track at least around seven PSUs for the time being by converting the loan given to various PSUs over the years into equity.
But it is insufficient to bring a sudden turnaround in the public sector landscape considering the volume of the loss of major PSUs in the state.