Weekly Current Affairs

PMO nod for closure of sick govt. companies [Economy]

  • The BJP-led NDA government is all set to embark on its strategic disinvestment programme. NITI Aayog’s proposal for shutting down 17 sick or loss-making government companies has received go-ahead from Prime Minister’s Office.
  • This is second set of proposals from Aayog for strategic sales aimed at reducing government ownership to below 51 per cent in about 22 public sector companies.
  • This second list includes the Miniratna helicopter services operator Pawan Hans Limited, Scooters India Limited, Cement Corporation of India Limited and three plants of the Maharatna Steel Authority of India (SAIL) located at Salem, Durgapur and Bhadravati.
  • Government companies in the hospital services business and the construction consultancy industry are also on the list of PSUs for strategic disinvestment.
  • The approval from the PMO is not for outright 100 per cent sales…the government won’t exit these companies, but will go on to be a minority shareholder post disinvestment.
  • The list of loss-making companies to be closed includes Indian Oil-CREDA Biofuels Ltd and CREDA HPCL Biofuel Ltd, both Jatropha oil-focussed subsidiaries of stateowned petroleum giants.
  • Also on the list are National Jute Manufactures Corporation Limited and its subsidiary, Birds Jute & Export. Bharat Wagon and Engineering is another public sector unit (PSU) that is all set to be shut down.
  • Many of the companies being shut down hold vast tracts of land. For instance, CREDA HPCL Biofuel had leased 15000 hectares of vacant waste/barren land from the government of Chhattisgarh for a period of 30 years for planting jatropha.