Speed up divestment process, Kelkar tells govt

Speed up divestment process, Kelkar tells govt


“The government should pursue the disinvestment programme more energetically to reshuffle its assets for the country’s new needs,” Kelkar said at the release of Green India 2047, a report by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

“I would urge the government to really have even more ambitious programme of disinvestment over the next several years essentially to restructure the capital base,” he said adding that the needs of the country have changed over the decades.

Valuing the public sector units, both listed and unlisted, at US$300-400 billion (Rs 13.8-18.4 lakh crore), he said that the country needs to restructure its assets by moving half of the capital to areas that only the government can take care of.
“On mark-to-market basis, our PSUs are valued between US$300 billion and US$400 billion. If you disinvest 50 per cent then you have US$200-billion fund,” he pointed out. Without jeopardising the national capital, the fund could be used for new needs like environment, urban infrastructure, need for solar energy and mass rapid transport system.

Saying that the domestic capital market is more sophisticated now, unlike in the past, he said the government should retreat from industries which can be handled by the private sector players. “We don’t now require public sector hotels, airlines, even many other areas... earlier we didn’t have capital market, we didn’t have entrepreneurship,”  he said adding that building environment is a new capital requirement. Though Kelkar said these are his personal views, shades of these might find place in the 13th Finance Commission report, which he said, will be submitted to President Pratibha Patil by December 31.

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