Only six out of 27 state public sector undertakings (SPSUs) in Himachal Pradesh made a profit in 2017-18, according to an audit report tabled in the state Legislative Assembly last week.
The Himachal Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (HPSIDC), which develops industrial areas, facilitates the setting up of new units and provides term loans for projects, registered the highest net profit of Rs 13.9 crore, according to the state finances audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India for 2018-19.
It is followed by HP General Industries Corporation (HPGIC), which gained Rs 5.65 crore. The company runs country liquor bottling plants, furniture factories and a silk mill in Nurpur.
The other government companies which made a profit include HP State Civil Supplies Corporation, HP State Handicrafts and Handloom Corporation, HP Agro Industries Corporation and HP State Electronics Development Corporation. The six companies made a total profit of Rs 24.75 crore, as per their accounts finalised in 2018-19, said the report.
Another PSU, Himachal Pradesh Beverages, also made a profit of Rs 9.49 crore during 2016-17, found the report. But the company, set up in 2016 to provide wholesale liquor trade, is non-functional since 2018, when the government decided to wind it up.
All these seven profit-making companies were required to pay a minimum dividend to the state government as per policy, but only three of them did so, observed the auditor.
The state has 27 SPSUs, including 22 working companies, three non-working/inactive companies (Agro Industrial Packaging India, Himachal Worsted Mills and Himachal Pradesh Beverages), and two working statutory corporations (HRTC and HP Financial Corporation), according to the report.
As on March 31, 2019, the total investment in these 27 PSUs was around Rs 14,375 crore (0.56 per cent of it in non-working companies), the auditor said. The investment in the form of paid-up capital was around 31 per cent, while around 69 per cent was in the form of long-term loans.
The report noted that for the past several years, there were differences between the investment figures maintained by PSUs and the figures reported by the state government, and such differences should be rectified through periodic reconciliation.
Power sector PSUs among major losers
Six SPSUs made significant losses, registering an aggregate loss of Rs 83.28 crore as mentioned in their final accounts, the auditor said.
HP State Electricity Board (HPSEBL) registered the highest loss of Rs 44.21 crore, followed by HP Power Corporation (HPPCL) which lost Rs 32.35 crore, as per their accounts finalised upto 2016-17, the report said.
HPSEBL is responsible for supply of power to all categories of consumers while HPPCL was incorporated in 2006 to plan, promote and organise the development of power generation on behalf of the state government.
The HP Power Transmission Corporation also lost Rs 6.72 crore in 2017-18, while HP State Forest Development Corporation registered a loss of Rs 10.27 crore in 2015-16, the auditor said.
“The state government may consider reviewing the working of SPSUs which are incurring huge losses, and formulate a strategic plan for their revival or closure, as the case may be,” observed the report.
It also found that the state government has invested Rs 4,328 crore in 22 PSUs whose accounts were in arrears, which meant that these investments have remained outside the scrutiny of the state legislature.
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