25 October, 2020

A Loss-Making Venture

Shourie erred on the divestment route. We 'sold the family silver to pay the butler'.

Sandeep Adhwaryu
A Loss-Making Venture
On May 17, 2004, the stockmarket went into a tailspin. The one alleged reason for the panic was that the Left parties, supporting the Congress government from the outside, had suggested that the high-profile but controversial disinvestment ministry be scrapped. Needless to say, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hasn't appointed a disinvestment minister—at least not till the time of going to press.

But why has disinvestment got such a bad name? Well, if there's one individual who has given privatisation in India a negative connotation, it's Arun Shourie. As the PM pointed out, by pursuing privatisation as an ideological commitment and not as a means of economic reform, Shourie alienated most politicians, not to mention ordinary working people. While mindlessly reposing faith in private enterprise as a panacea for all ills of industry, what has been delayed is the administration of much-needed medicine to revive many of the country's ailing PSUs.

Using certain yardsticks, efficiency levels are undoubtedly far higher in private firms than in PSUs. It is also nobody's case...


To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

Latest Magazine

November 02, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section