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8 ministries list assets for monetisation: from stations to telecom towers, pipelines to roads

The Niti Aayog is in the process of preparing a National Monetisation Pipeline for FY21-24 and has asked ministries to identify and share information on the assets to be included in the pipeline.

Written by Sandeep Singh | New Delhi |
Updated: March 17, 2021 7:00:24 am
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses a press conference on Union Cabinet decisions, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Express Photo: Prem Nath Pandey)

To meet the aggressive target of raising around Rs 2.5 lakh crore through asset sales, the government has lined up plans to monetise assets including roads, electricity transmission, oil and gas pipelines, and telecom towers, sports stadia, among others. The assets shortlisted come under the purview of eight ministries.

Alongside these core sector assets, the plan includes awarding 150 passenger trains to private players; divestment of the equity stake of Airports Authority of India in the joint ventures that operate the Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad airports; and leasing out stadiums such as the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the national capital, sources said.

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The Niti Aayog is in the process of preparing a National Monetisation Pipeline for FY21-24 and has asked ministries to identify and share information on the assets to be included in the pipeline. A Core Group of Secretaries for Asset Monetisation met last month to discuss the shortlist of assets identified for monetisation in 2021-22.

While the government has been planning asset sale for over two years now, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the broad contours of the Asset Monetisation Pipeline in the Budget for 2021-22. Subsequently, the Prime Minister put his weight behind the private sector and sought to link privatisation and monetisation of assets with the government’s need to spend in welfare and development projects. Such a concerted push also comes in the backdrop of sliding tax revenues and a patchy record in meeting the disinvestment targets set in each of the last five years.

According to sources close to the development, the Ministry of Railways targets raising Rs 90,000 crore through asset monetisation in 2021-22 with plans to award 150 passenger trains to private players during the year. It also hopes to issue RFPs (Requests for Proposal) and RFQs (Requests for Qualification) to redevelop 50 railway stations by March-end.

While the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways plans to monetise 7,200 kms of roads through various means including infrastructure investment trust (InvIT), Toll-Operate-Transfer (TOT) and securitisation, the government plans to monetise transmission assets of PGCIL in two lots. In the first lot, it plans to monetise assets valued at over Rs 7,000 crore in 2021-22.

Besides, the government plans to monetise assets of MTNL, BSNL and Bharatnet. The Department of Telecommunications is learnt to have informed the core group that it has already undertaken the monetisation of tower assets of BSNL and optical fibre under Bharatnet. The committee, however, raised concerns over the slow progress on monetisation of telecom and non-core assets (land parcels) of BSNL.

With a Rs 20,000 crore target, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports plans to monetise the sports stadia under its purview. While the ministry plans to initiate an exercise to identify assets, the committee asked it to expedite the appointment of transaction advisor for Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium project. The stadiums are likely to be leased out to the private sector by way of an operation and maintenance contract.

As for sale of assets under the Ministry of Civil Aviation in 2021-22, the government is considering to sell Airports Authority of India stake in the joint venture of Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad airports. This is besides the 13 AAI airports that it willl monetise through the OMDA based model (Operation, Management, Development Agreement).

Also, the Ministry of Shipping Ports and Waterways has identified over 30 berths that it plans to monetise through PPP mode.

Other than these, eight ministries and several others may be included to undertake the asset monetisation exercise. Some potential ministries that may be included are the Ministry of Coal, Ministry of Mines, Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

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