India plans stake sales in 28 state-run companies

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NEW DELHI: India’s cabinet has given ‘in-principle’ approval for the sale of strategic stakes in 28 state-run companies including state carrier Air India, junior finance minister Anurag Singh Thakur told lawmakers on Monday.

The government has so far raised 173.64 billion rupees ($2.43 billion) in the 2019/20 fiscal year ending in March, against the full-year’s target of 1.05 trillion rupees, the minister said in a written reply in the lower house of parliament.

The plan will open up a steady stream of state companies to greater private investment, and target the kind of annual divestment revenue that will be crucial to meet fiscal deficit targets.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration already sold government stakes in a host of companies to raise a record $40.92 billion in his first five-year term, nearly three times the divestment proceeds of $14.52 billion achieved by the Congress party government in 2009-2014. Modi was re-elected for a second-term in a landslide victory in April-May.

The government has identified a number of state-owned firms, including explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp, oil refiner Indian Oil Corp, gas transmitter GAIL (India) Ltd, power producers NHPC Ltd and NTPC, miners NMDC Ltd and Coal India, and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd , said the sources, who declined to be named due to the sensitive nature of the matter.


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