The privatisation of two public sector banks and one general insurance firm announced in the Union Budget two years ago, is off the table for now, the top Finance Ministry official in charge of the government’s disinvestment drive said on Friday.
The focus of the strategic disinvestment process in the coming year will be to execute the approved transactions that are already in the pipeline rather than initiate work on more such companies, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey told The Hindu.
“It is not on the table for now and it cannot be on the table as it requires a legislation first. So there is no plan as of now – the Banking Regulation amendment that is being introduced in the Finance Bill this year has no plan to facilitate privatisation,” he said on the prospects of initiating the sale of public sector banks and a general insurer in the coming year.
“The ₹51,000 crore disinvestment target for 2023-24 is guided by the hope of concluding transactions that work is already underway on, such as IDBI Bank, NMDC Steel, Concor, Shipping Corporation of India, BEML, et al,” he said.
The government had set a ₹65,000 crore target for disinvestment receipts for this year, but revised them to ₹50,000 crore. Disinvestment targets, which are based on market developments and other challenges, are not written in stone and are estimates at best, unlike tax revenue targets, where even if collections dip, they will never hit zero, he pointed out.