Sitharaman mulls Air India, BPCL sale by March: Report

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (PTI Photo)

The government is looking to wrap up the sale of flag carrier airline Air India and oil company Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) by March, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was quoted as saying in a Times of India report.

“We are moving on both with the expectation that we can complete them this year. The ground realities will play out," Sitharaman told TOI in an interview, raising the issue of the sale of the two state-run firms that could help the Government in its plans to raise over Rs 1 lakh crore in the current fiscal year.

The Finance Minister mentioned that the industry captains of various sectors had planned for new investments and helped in refining their balance sheets.

Nirmala Sitharaman pointed out that the Supreme Court verdict on Essar Steel would influence the balance sheets of banks immensely in the next quarter, since it had established constitutionality and legal strength of the IBC law.

She said that the Government took measures to reverse the economic slowdown at the right time and several sectors are coming out of distress, as per the TOI report.

The investors, in the international road, had shown a “lot of interest” evidently ahead of the sale of Air India.

Speaking about the consumer attitudes, the Union Minister told the daily, “If consumer confidence is not on way to being restored, why would you think that such an amount would have gone out as loans during the two outreach programmes started by banks? And, it is all over the country."

She mentioned in the interview that there was a demand of Rs 1.8 lakh crore in loans from banks during the festival season at the outreach programme. This, she said, are indications of change and revival of consumer sentiments.

The Finance Minister said that she expected GST collections to revive on the back of an improvement in sales in some segments as also due to recent efforts to plug leakages, according to the report.

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