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Sale of stakes in 13 PSUs called off

Wednesday 17 August 2005

Special Correspondent

Decision in keeping with Common Minimum Programme, says Minister

Reverses NDA Government’s decision Not the right option: Chidambaram Left pressure denied Selling minority stakes in PSUs being discussed

NEW DELHI: The Government on Tuesday announced that the strategic sale of shares in 13 public sector undertakings (PSUs) was called off.

"In keeping with the National Common Minimum Programme guidelines, it has been decided to call off the process of disinvestment through strategic sale of 13 profit-making PSUs," Minister of State for Finance S.S. Palanimanickam said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

The decision reverses the National Democratic Alliance Government’s plan to make strategic sale of shares in 18 PSUs.

Speaking outside Parliament, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said the strategic sale of stakes in PSUs was not the right option.

"We do not think that strategic sale is a transparent method. I believe that strategic sale is no longer the proper approach to adopt. It raises more questions and is not the preferred route," he said.

He denied that the decision was taken under pressure from the Left parties.

According to the Government, the companies that will now not be divested include the National Aluminium Company Limited, the Shipping Corporation of India, the National Fertilizers Limited, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, Engineers India Limited, Balmer Lawrie, Hindustan Paper Corporation, the State Trading Corporation, the National Building Construction Corporation, Engineering Projects India Ltd, Sponge Iron India, Manganese Ore India and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers.

The other alternative the Government is discussing is to sell minority stakes in PSUs through the public offer route. Any such decision will be considered case-by-case.

"There are sale and purchase agreements and obligations. We will deal with each case according to the legal obligations contained in that agreement," Mr. Chidambaram added.

See online : The Hindu

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