Time-bound strategic selloff drill
The government is trying to ensure the outright sale of PSUs within four months of issuing documents to potential investors, a move aimed at speedier conclusion of the entire process, an official said.
The finance ministry is reworking the strategic sale procedure, with the government setting a stiff sell-off target of Rs 90,000 crore for the fiscal.
However, for bigger PSUs such as Air India, the timeline for the strategic sale is likely to be 6 months from the issue of Preliminary Information Memorandum about the company.
Currently, there is no set timeline and the entire process of sale, in some cases, drags on for months, if not years.
“The strategic sale policy is already in place, but the procedure needs to be streamlined so that the sale process is completed within 3-4 months' time,” an official said.
“The thinking is that if a process cannot be completed in 4 months then it should be abandoned,” the official said.
Faced with a daunting task to meet the Rs 90,000-crore target, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) will focus on the outright sale of selected PSUs, which has been pending for long.
The NITI Aayog has already identified 35 profitable and loss-making PSUs which can go in for the strategic sale.
”The procedure would be drafted in a way such that the process can go on simultaneously for more than one CPSE.
“For bigger CPSEs, the timeline for completion of sale could be extended till about 6 months,” the official added.
The companies which have been shortlisted for strategic sale include Air India, Air India subsidiary AIATSL, BEML, Scooters India, Bharat Pumps Compressors, and the Bhadrawati, Salem and Durgapur units of steel major SAIL.
The other PSUs for which approvals are in place for outright sale include Hindustan Fluorocarbon, Hindustan Newsprint, HLL Life Care, Central Electronics, Bridge & Roof India, Nagarnar Steel plant of NMDC and units of Cement Corporation of India and ITDC.
The process for the strategic sale of many state-owned companies started back in late 2017 or early 2018 but the transactions could not be concluded.
DIPAM had issued PIMs for the sale of Pawan Hans, Bharat Pumps & Compressors Ltd, Hindustan Fluorocarbons Ltd in April 2018, while that for Scooters India, Hindustan Newsprint was floated in March 2018.
Similarly memorandums for SAIL’s Alloy Steel Plant was issued in February and that for Hindustan Prefab was posted on a website in October 2017. However, these transactions could not be completed so far due to a variety of reasons.
In the last fiscal the government had raised Rs 84,972 crore from PSU disinvestment, of which Rs 15,914 crore came in from the strategic stake sale. During the fiscal, state-owned NBCC bought a government stake in HSCC for Rs 285 crore.
Besides, a consortium of four ports acquired the government's 73.44 per cent stake in Dredging Corp of India for Rs 1,049 crore, while National Projects Construction Corporation (NPCC) was sold for Rs 80 crore.
An amount of Rs 14,500 crore was raised by way of state-run Power Finance Corp acquiring the government stake in REC.
The government had raised Rs 42,468 crore in 2017-18 from strategic sales.
So far in the current financial year, the government has mopped up Rs 2,350 crore through disinvestment transactions.