In line with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's announcement during the Union Budget presentation that the government would privatise two PSBs in this financial year, senior officials of the Niti Aayog, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and the finance ministry’s financial services and economic affairs departments are set to meet on Wednesday (14 April) to discuss the potential candidates for privatisation.
The sources said to Business Standard that four to five PSBs have been suggested by the Niti Aayog and they will be discussed in the meeting.
It was reported in February that the government is said to have zeroed in on four mid-sized PSBs including Bank of Maharashtra, Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank and the Central Bank of India as part of its privatisation push.
Among the shortlisted PSBs, Bank of India has the biggest workforce of about 50,000 employees, followed by Central Bank of India with 33,000 employees. These are then followed by Indian Overseas Bank and Bank of Maharashtra that have about 26,000 employees and 13,000 employees respectively.
Bank of Maharashtra's smaller workforce size could make it easier to privatise and therefore potentially one of the first to be sold.
However, the actual privatisation process may still take five to six months to begin as the decision depends on various factors like number of employees, pressure of the trade unions and political repercussions.
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