In the wake of increased private participation in all sectors, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Gujarat asked all Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) to improve on their professionalism and efficiency Thursday.
Launching an exhibition of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar where heads of CPSEs were present, Sitharaman said, “It is now time for the PSEs to show that you are very keen to improve on your professionalism – as much as you have done between 1991 and now – and bring down the overheads and look at private participation together with what you are doing. There are several aspects where you can benefit from the efficiency of the private sector.”
On the Union budget 2020-21, where the new PSE policy was announced, the minister said, “It was time for India to open up every sector for private sector to compete.” Sitharaman said that while PSEs continue to function in core and strategic sectors like atomic energy, space, defence and others, they need to explore the “scaling up possibilities that exists, the prospects for expansion and amalgamation and prospects for private participation.”
“The core and strategic sectors will have the presence of PSEs in India because of national interests and strategic importance. Even there the policy has opened up for private sector to operate. Therefore, I will definitely raise a little flag here to all the PSEs. The moment you open up for the private sector, we the public sector will have to be conscious of the level of competition before us. If we are conscious of the level of competition, I am sure, as you have done in the seven decades before us, you will face the challenge and stand up and prove better efficiencies so that you will be on the top, rather than leave the space for efficiency to be elsewhere and your presence not being noticed,” Sitharaman said at the event where chief minister Bhupendra Patel was also present.
During her speech, the finance minister also mentioned the liberalisation in 1991 that became a “game changer” for PSEs as it allowed competition with private counterparts.
“It is time that you derive maximum benefits and scale up your efficiency” the minister said asking PSEs to look at next 25 years and try to become global in scale, efficiencies and set new benchmarks.
Sitharaman, who was on her way to Karnataka for the Rajya Sabha elections on June 10, apologised to the CPSEs for not visiting all the stalls at the exhibition. “I have to go back to Bengaluru this afternoon. You will appreciate that it is duty of a parliamentarian to go back and get re-elected. My Rajya Sabha election is tomorrow and therefore I had to tell the Chief Minister (Bhupendra Patel) that we will have to go by selected number of stalls, rather than visit everyone.”
A total of 75 CPSEs have put up stalls at Mahatma Mandir showcasing their contribution and development of the country during the past seven decades.