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
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
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...
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