Industry chamber Assocham today asked the government to set a higher disinvestment target of Rs 70,000 crore for 2012-13 fiscal to raise resources for development plans and bridge fiscal deficit.
“There are large cash reserves with private and public sector companies. Thus,the disinvestment process can be given a push with a target of Rs 70,000 crore for the next financial year,” Assocham President Rajkumar Dhoot told reporters here.
The government,which had set an ambitious target of Rs 40,000 crore in 2011-12,has been able to raise only Rs 1,145 crore through stake sale in the Power Finance Corporation (PFC) this fiscal so far.
Due to bad stock market conditions,the government had to postpone stake sales of several blue-chip state-owned firms.
Assocham Senior Vice President Rana Kapoor said that about 17 Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) like ONGC and CIL are sitting on a surplus cash of Rs 1.70 lakh crore.
“There are opportunities to disinvest shares,if you only look at handful of bluechips,” Kapoor said,adding the market conditions have to be conducive for any such step.
Although the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM),under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee,met on February 15 to decide on stake sale of ONGC and BHEL,it remained inconclusive. Even as they decided to use the auction route for stake sale in two companies,they could not decide on any time-line.
Last fiscal the government had raised around Rs 22,500 crore through stake sale in PSUs.
On the contentious issue of FDI in multi-brand retail,Dhoot said,”The government will rethink about it (introducing FDI in multi-brand retail). If it comes,the government will have more revenue.”
FDI in retail should be allowed in phases in different cities that do not have population of more than 15 lakh people,he added.
Following widespread opposition,including from its own allies,the government suspended its decision to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail.