Panel of secretaries to help PSUs acquire global assets

Panel of secretaries to help PSUs acquire global assets

The government today said it has formed a panel of secretaries to help PSUs in their global hunt for strategic wealth such as oil, minerals and agricultural resources.

The Co-ordinating Committee of Secretaries (CCoS), headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth, is a follow-up to the policy for acquisition of assets abroad by PSUs to ensure adequate raw-material, crucial for growth of the manufacturing sector and the economy as a whole, an official statement said.

While the Cabinet had given financial autonomy for up to Rs 3,000 crore to Navratnas and Rs 5,000 crore to Maharatna PSUs for acquiring assets abroad, the CCoS will chip in only if these firms are seeking funds from the government for their global plans.

"The committee shall add-value to the PSU proposals like avoiding competition among Indian companies and facilitating quick decision-making..." the statement said.

The CCoS will consider proposals which are beyond the powers of board of CPSEs and require a budgetary support.

India has to catch up with China which has done some aggressive overseas buy-outs of key raw-material assets like coal, iron ore and oil.

"If required, the CCoS would facilitate a consortium approach in high-value or strategically important acquisitions," the statement said.

However, it was clarified that the CCoS would not replace the existing mechanism of Empowered Committee of Secretaries (ESC) in the ministries of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel.

"They (ECS) would continue to function and consider proposals for acquiring raw-material abroad beyond the powers delegated to the boards of concerned PSUs," the statement said.