“We already raised Rs 62,000 crore. Why are you ignoring the Rs 32,000 crore of dividend that we have received/ money is money, money is fungible,” Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary, department of investment and public asset management (Dipam) told a panel discussion organised by industry lobby group CII.
The government had set a target of raising Rs 65,000 crore from asset sales and there were doubts about meeting the target, given the time taken for privatisation of public sector units. So far, pure disinvestment receipts totalled Rs 28,383 crore while the rest is dividend receipts. The Dipam secretary has often argued that the disinvestment process should not be looked at purely from the annual target, given the complexities involved.
Pandey said there were several ongoing transactions which included IDBI Bank, HLL Life Care, a consulting company, BEML and Shipping Corporation of India. “These are the companies where we need to go ahead and complete the transactions,” said Pandey, adding that Dipam was also working on the transaction structure for steel maker RINL and hopes to move on that soon.
Pandey said privatisation along with asset monetisation will help trigger the investment cycle, unlock economic potential and bring the private sector to the forefront.
Chief economic adviser V Anantha Nageswaran said that while the public sector has helped scale up investment in the last decade, going forward the private sector must not be crowded out and it must play a greater role. He said it must also be ensured that combined investment spending by the private and public sector should not drive up the cost of capital too much for the economy.
On reforms, Nageswaran said what he termed divestment from a different kind of LIC. “Licensing, inspection and the compliance regime, which is now happening substantially at the Union government level, but it also needs to percolate down to the lower levels of the local and state governments as well with a focus on MSMEs,” he said.