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Government eyeing 5-6 selloffs this fiscal: Dipam secretary


NEW DELHI: The Centre is confident of completing privatisation of 5 to 6 state-run enterprises in the current fiscal year and is aiming to hand over Air India (AI) to the Tatas by December, a top official said on Wednesday. “We would possibly see after 19 years maybe 5-6 privatisations this year itself. Not only Air India but also BPCL is in the due diligence stage,” department of investment and public asset management (Dipam) secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey told a summit organised by industry lobby group CII. He also said financial bids can take place for staterun companies such as BEML, the Shipping Corporation of India, Pawan Hans, Central Electronics, Neelachal Ispat Nigam in January and the transactions could be wrapped up in the current financial year that ends in March. In October, the government completed the privatisation of Air India that has been in the works for the past 20 years. The Tata Group won the bid and the airline, which was nationalised in 1953, is headed back to its fold. “Our whole focus is on how to hand over as quickly as possible… We are trying to target it by December,” Pandey said, adding that all approvals are all in place. The Dipam secretary also said the government was working hard for the listing of state-run insurance behemoth LIC and it is planned for the fourth quarter. “This is one large financial institution which has remained so far away from the markets… Again for the capital markets, it will be a very big event in the first quarter of next year, I mean the last quarter of this financial year,” said Pandey. Speaking at the same panel discussion, department of economic affairs (DEA) secretary Ajay Seth said economic growth has to come from a virtuous cycle of private investment with the private sector having a larger economic role, while the government’s role would be that of a facilitator.


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