NITI unlikely to issue fresh list for selloff

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NEW DELHI: Government think tank NITI Aayog is unlikely to recommend a fresh set of state-run companies for privatisation for the time being and is expected to wait to see progress of the companies already identified for privatisation, sources said.
NITI Aayog, which has been entrusted with the job of identifying public sector units for privatisation, had wanted to undertake a regular review of the progress of the asset sales programme.
But the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), which manages the disinvestment programme, has pointed out to the government think tank that such a review is not possible and have cited business rules to support its argument. DIPAM has said that the core group of secretaries already undertakes a review of the disinvestment programme and the CEO of NITI Aayog is part of the process, said sources aware of the development.
NITI Aayog has already submitted a list for the privatisation of two banks, one insurance company as well as other state run companies. But progress on these have been limited for a raft of reasons, including the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sale process. The government is keen to accelerate the process and NITI Aayog’s request for a review of the progress may have been triggered by the anxiety to fast track the process, which is seen as crucial for the current year to raise much needed revenues.
The privatisation of the two state-run banks and an insurance company are unlikely to happen in the current financial year as several issues, including legislative changes remain to be tied up.
The government’s focus right now is on the listing of state-run insurance giant LIC and there are expectations that it should be completed by the fourth quarter of the current fiscal year, which ends in March.

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