28 January, 2021

COVIDED! Axe On Disinvestment Is Good News For Air-India, BPCL and LIC?

The coronavirus pandemic has poured water on Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman's plan to raise Rs 2,10,000 crore from disinvestments

COVIDED! Axe On Disinvestment Is Good News For Air-India, BPCL and LIC?

The sowing eyed an impressive harvest, but as the scythes were being sharpened, the Grim Reaper’s deadly emissary devised a counter stroke. On February 1, 2020, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a grand plan to raise Rs 2,10,000 crore from disinvestment. Little did she expect COVID 19, which had begun to spread its deadly tentacles, to tarnish those dreams. Concomitant to that disappointment is the bloodbath in Indian and global markets and a dissolving appetite for public issues and IPOs.

Although disinvestment exercises are on, it will be difficult for the government now to go ahead with strategic sales in the state-owned Air India and BPCL, as well a sale of minority stake in LIC. According to former finance secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, it will be almost impossible to reach anywhere near the ambitious Budget revenue estimates.

“Market conditions are not favourable for the sale of minority stakes in PSUs, and there may be little interest in strategic sales,” he says. He adds that the idea to put smaller PSUs on the block...



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