A group of secretaries on strategic disinvestment today (30 September) approved the sale of government’s entire shareholding in four public sector companies - Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), Shipping Corp of India (SCI), THDC India and NEEPCO, Livemint reported.
This is the first time when the government is considering the possibility of a complete exit from profit-making PSUs.
If the decision is approved by the union cabinet, this will represent the biggest privatisation of state-owned public sector companies proposed to be undertaken by an Indian government since the Atal Bihari Vajpayee dispensation in early 2000.
In the budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had indicated the government's plan to bring down equity in PSUs to below 51 per cent on a case-to-case basis.
The government currently holds 63.75 per cent equity in SCI, 54.8 per cent in CONCOR and 53.29 per cent stake in BPCL. These companies are fit cases for bringing down stake to below 51 per cent level as these already have a high level of public shareholding.
The government increased its disinvestment target to over Rs 1 lakh crore for the current financial year in the last budget. In the interim budget 2019-20 presented in February this year, it had pegged the disinvestment target of Rs 90,000 crore.
The government is also proposing to sell its stake of 75 per cent in THDC to NTPC, and 100 per cent of its stake in North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO) to NHPC.
THDC India Limited (Formerly Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited), is a company jointly owned by Government of India and Government of Uttar Pradesh. Incorporated in July 1988 to develop, operate and maintain the Tehri Hydro Power Complex and other Hydro Projects.
THDC currently operates four power plants in operation namely Tehri Dam (1000 MW), Koteshwar Dam (400 MW), 50 MW Wind project in Patan (Gujarat) and 63 MW Wind project in Dwarka (Gujarat).
NEEPCO constructs, generates, operates and maintains power stations in the North Eastern Region of the country.
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