India not yet ready to privatise PSU banks, says Jaitley

India not yet ready to privatise PSU banks, says Jaitley

'It's important to revive banking sector'

India not yet ready to privatise PSU banks, says Jaitley

India is not yet prepared to privatise public sector banks, but to strengthen them, the government may reduce stake in state-owned lenders, taking care that the threshold is maintained at 52%, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

“I don’t think that public or political opinion has converged to the point where we can think of privatisation in the banking sector,” Jaitley said at The Economist India Summit in New Delhi.

Jaitley said that it was important to revive the banking sector, but there was no question of selling the controlling stakes in the state-owned lenders. To a question on what would be his top priority as a finance minister going forward, he replied that it would have implementation of the Goods and Services Tax for which his government was running agaist time.

“If you ask me in terms of economic priorities even outside Parliament, I would say that certainly implementation of GST is the top priority, putting the bank on track is a very important priority, and the stalled projects... a lot of them have been cleared and this process must continuously go on... I think these are the obvious priorities,” the finance minister said.

Infra reform
Jaitley said that tax, banking and infrastructure reforms were the areas where he was concentrating on to give a fillip to the economy.

On stressed assets in the public sector banks, Jaitley said the Centre had initiated a large number of steps to reduce non-performing assets.

“There is not a single sector that we have left out in terms of resolving issues... if you were to ask me after the passage and may be possible implementation of GST, while that process is on what would be my priority at the moment, it is certainly the health of public sector banks,” he said.

He also hinted that the government is ready to provide additional capital over and above Rs 25,000 crore amount announced in the Budget.


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