The Congress on Tuesday said the Narendra Modi government was planning to sell all public sector banks, which will have dangerous repercussions for the country. The party also alleged that the public sector units were being sold to crony capitalists who had set sight on the land owned by these companies.
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said: “Modi government’s reckless privatisation and its plans to put India on sale now pose huge risks to the Indian economy and our people. The Modi government is now all set to completely exit public sector banks being privatised - an ill-thought out strategy with dangerous repercussions.”
She said the BJP should now be known as “Beche Jao Party.”
Recalling Indira Gandhi’s brave decision to nationalise banks in 1969, Shrinate said: “It did not just break the monopoly of a few private lenders but ensured banking reaches the last mile. State-owned banks do priority lending to sectors like agriculture and small industries that private banks shy away from.
“They have helped in the development of backward areas and have opened branches in far-flung regions of the country where no private banks would venture.
“Public sector banks are not just financial institutions, they are actually agents of social empowerment.”
Declaring that the Congress will oppose this reckless sale of national assets, Shrinate said: “This fire sale of strategic and profit making assets built over the last 75 years raises some serious questions. What is the explanation for the disastrous IPO of LIC with losses of over $18 billion-almost one third of its valuation? In the last two months alone, the government has been forced to halt its privatisation spree.”
She said: “Sale of BPCL sale was called off, two of the three investors withdrew, deterred by faulty fuel pricing policies and various uncertainties. Sale of Pawan Hans Ltd was put on hold after 51 per cent stake was sold to a company that had failed to honour a previous bid for an insolvent company, and the NCLT Calcutta had ruled against it.
“Central Electronics Ltd is a Ministry of Science and Technology PSU that provides critical materials and services for strategic sectors such as defence, railways and energy. It was severely undervalued and 100 per cent equity was sold to a financial company with no scientific background that had links to BJP politicians. Now on hold after the two bidders turned out to be related parties.”
She added: “Sale of Container Corporation of India (Concor) was put on hold after Congress party’s charges of how the government was using backdoor arrangement to hand over railway land acquired from farmers at a concessional rate or free of cost to a private party for commercial use.
“The privatisation has also been delayed because of issues over the valuation of land. CONCOR has land around railway stations, Shipping Corporation of India has land in Maharashtra especially Mumbai) while Bharat Earth Movers (land in Bengal and Karnataka). It is clear the single minded objective is to hand over these ventures and the lakhs of acres of land they hold to Modi’s chosen few crony capitalist friends.”