Opposition members in the Lok Sabha on Thursday raised concerns over the government’s “aggressive” disinvestment and asset monetisation plan. Participating in a discussion on Supplementary Demands for Grants Second batch for 2020-21, Supriya Sule of NCP said eight ministries have lined up asset monetisation plan and the government’s stake in LIC is also being diluted. “I understand a certain amount of disinvestment is the need of the hour, considering that we are in the global game. But aggressively? Why is the Government in such a hurry for eight ministries… which are all in a lucrative business and also LIC… That is a concern,” she said.
Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur said the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) is not being privatised and an Initial Public Offering (IPO) is being planned. Margani Bharat of the YSRCP asked the government not to go ahead with the privatisation of Vizag Steel Plant or RINL and suggested that it could be merged with SAIL. He said that Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) has clocked Rs 200 crore profit before COVID-19 and suggested that the Centre and the Andhra Pradesh state government could work out a way to turn it profitable again.
The Union Cabinet in January had approved the strategic sale of RINL. Saptagiri Ulaka of the Congress alleged that although the government was hell-bent on disinvestment and sets high targets, it doesn’t have a strategy and hence no one is buying Air India.
The government estimates to raise Rs 32,000 crore from PSU stake sale in the current fiscal. For the next financial year, the target is pegged at Rs 1.75 lakh crore. Participating in the discussion, Vinayak Raut (Shiv Sena) said that rising prices of petrol and diesel have made the common man’s life difficult and demanded to know what steps have been taken to control inflation.