Updated: February 8, 2021 7:13:45 am
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday asserted that the central government was not dismantling the PSUs but lending them greater strength through concrete policy framework to bring more capital funds and professionalism.
Addressing a gathering on the Budget 2021-22, organised by the Mumbai BJP at Yogi Sabha Gruha in Dadar, she said, “The government is not selling the family silver. To the contrary, it is strengthening the family silver.”
Referring to the Opposition’s criticism on disinvesting public sector undertakings (PSUs), she said, “It is not the first time that disinvestment is happening. In the past, disinvestment was in piecemeal. One unit was taken and then next and then it was endlessly debated. What is new in our Budget is we have brought a policy which brings clarity.”
Thin spreading of family silver does not help the PSUs which are in losses and those doing well are not getting due attention, the Finance Minister said, adding that the government wants to prime them by scaling them to their maximum potential to meet the aspirations of growing India.
“It is the government’s duty to see every taxpayer’s money be qualitatively spend. Just because we inherited so many loss making units we cannot continue to invest taxpayers’ money to keep it going and then not be accountable for their performance. “No taxpayer would like their money going in units in a state of ICU without signs of improvement in their conditions,” Sitharaman stated.
Aimed at maximising potential
With The Opposition criticising the government for the Budget proposals to divest stakes, which includes the sale of two public sector banks and a general insurer, the Finance Minister has maintained that the move is aimed at maximising the potential of the PSUs.
“I value every taxpayer’s rupee and will spend it meaningfully,” the Finance Minister said, adding that a comprehensive framework was necessitated to ensure that the money invested produces more wealth to serve the poor, youth skill development and business growth.
Referring to the big ticket stimulus given for capital asset creation, Sitharaman argued, “The spending in infrastructure leads to multiple effects as it generates employment, leads to creation of core industry, which has ripple impact as it speeds up economy.”
She underlined the significance of the Centre’s Developmental Financial Institution (DFI) which will fund development requirements. “But only government alone cannot address the aspirations of India. Therefore, private DFI will have a great role to play.
“The government will work as facilitator through laws. The government DFI will work in competitive mode and better its performance,” she added.
Emphasising on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government showing complete faith in the people which reflected in Budget, Sitharaman said, “ Much has been discussed about NPAs (non-performing assets). There are no bad banks. But there are formulations that help to provide solution to NPAs. Something like bank holding company which will work out … Money will come to the banks … care will be taken to ensure delays don’t lead to losses.”
On taxation, the minister said, “To enable businesses to run hassle-free, reforms have been initiated in reducing the documentation by 50 per cent. However, if … income tax … is disproportionate to sources of income, I-T can ask for last ten years’ records. But the condition is it will require permission from the principal I-T commissioner.”
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