Budget not a document on micro policy: FM

Budget not a document on micro policy: FM

Budget not a document on micro policy: FM

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said the national budget was not the document to spell out micro policy details and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government remained committed to divestment in state-run firms without diluting their public sector character.

"I have made it very clear that we intend to include the public in disinvestment programmes," Mukherjee said, a day after presenting the national budget for the current fiscal.

"Budget is not a document to chart out micro policy details," he said, responding to comments across the spectrum that the budget gave little direction on the government's divestment programme.

In the budget speech, the finance minister only said that his government believed in selling the shares of state-run enterprises to the public at large, adding 51 percent equity will remain with the state, especially in national banks and insurance companies.

The budget had hoped to raise a paltry Rs.1,120 crore (Rs.11.2 billion/$224 million) this fiscal from sale of government equity in state-owned units such as RITES, Cochin Ship Yard, Telecommunications Consultants India, Manganese Ore, Rashtriya Ispat and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam.

"The public sector undertakings are the wealth of the nation, and part of this wealth should rest in the hands of the people," Mukherjee said in his budget speech.

"While retaining at least 51 percent government equity in our enterprises, I propose to encourage people's participation in our disinvestment programme," he said.
"Here, I must state clearly that public sector enterprises such as banks and insurance companies will remain in the public sector and will be given all support, including capital infusion, to grow and remain competitive."