More state-owned infrastructure assets to be sold by Centre

More state-owned infrastructure assets to be sold by Centre

New Delhi: To bolster country’s finance and plug the budget deficit, the Union government has contemplating to sell state-owned infrastructure assets including airport, rail and roads to raise ₹ 6 trillion. 

Centre has planned to sell road and railway assets, airports, power transmission lines, and gas pipelines for next four years to bolster its economy, says highly placed sources who did not wish to be identified. 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is likely to make a road map in this regard later in this week. Government’s initiative to sell its asset in line of Prime Minister’s strategic disinvestment policy. The Centre will retain only few sectors and rest will be privatized in a phased manner. Government has planned to mobilize ₹ 1.75 trillion from the sale of state-owned properties in the year through March 2022; Centre said that due to pandemic, revenue collections has been reached low. 

While broader divestment proposals this year include an initial public offering by LIC as well as stake sales in companies such as Bharat Petroleum Corp. and Air India Ltd., Ms Sitharaman is expected to announce plans only for monetizing infrastructure assets held by 11 ministries.

Revenue from monetizing roads is pegged at ₹ 1.6 trillion, while that from railways is seen at ₹ 1.5 trillion, from power sector assets may fetch ₹ 1 trillion, gas pipelines ₹ 590 billion and telecommunication assets ₹ 400 billion, sources added. 

Public warehouses, civil aviation and port infrastructure, sports stadiums and mining assets are expected to bring in another almost ₹ 1 trillion. 

Finance minister has announced in the budget speech said that the government will serve as a medium-term road map for the government's asset sale initiative, state-run think tank NITI Aayog said in a statement Sunday.

The sale of public properties would be narrowing the nation's budget deficit, and finance minister expects to be 6.8% of the gross domestic product in the financial year that began April 1, from 9.3% in the previous year.