Union Budget Sets Disinvestment Target at Rs 1 Lakh Crore, to Reinitiate Air India Stake Sale
The government had also exceeded the disinvestment target of Rs 1 lakh crore in 2017-18, mainly on the back of multiple deals like an agreement with ONGC for the strategic sale of its 51.11 per cent equity share-holding in HPCL at a consideration of Rs 36,915 crore.
Air India. (Representative image/Reuters)
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman increased the disinvestment target to Rs 1.05 lakh crore for the financial year 2019-20, up 16 per cent year-on-year from last year’s revised collections.
As on March, the Centre had exceeded its disinvestment target for the fiscal year 2018-19. Against a target of Rs 80,000 crore for disinvestment, the receipts touched Rs 85,000 crore.
The government had also exceeded the disinvestment target of Rs 1 lakh crore in 2017-18, mainly on the back of multiple deals like an agreement with ONGC for the strategic sale of its 51.11 percent equity share-holding in HPCL at a consideration of Rs 36,915 crore.
The budgeted estimate for 2017-18 was Rs 72,500 crore, comprising sale of equity in state-owned companies, including strategic sale and was later revised and increased to Rs 1 lakh crore.
For 2018-19, DIPAM got a sizeable amount from its marquee Exchange Traded Funds — CPSE and Bharat 22. While Rs 18,729.85 crore has been garnered from two fund offerings of the Bharat 22 ETF in the last fiscal, Rs 26,500 crore has come in from the CPSE ETF.
In March, the government got Rs 1,000 crore from the strategic sale of Dredging Corp to a consortium of four ports and Rs 2,000 crore from the sale of enemy shares. The government has also completed two initial public offerings of Mazagon Docks and MSTC.
Proceeds from DIPAM comprise a significant part of non-tax revenue for the Centre. A higher receipt from disinvestment is crucial as there is uncertainty regarding in meeting the indirect tax collection target, mainly from Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Robust revenue collection enables the government to stick to its fiscal deficit target.
According to Union Budget 2019 medium term fiscal policy statement, disinvestment receipts in 2020-21 and 2021-22 will be Rs 80,000 crore in each year.
The government is also getting ready to re-initiate the disinvestment process of national carrier Air India in view of the current environment.
"The government would re-initiate disinvestment of Air India," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her first Budget speech. Sitharaman presented the Union Budget for 2019-20 on Thursday.
The minister also said the government would consider keeping its stake below 51 percent in some public sector enterprises on a case-by-case basis, hinting at selling over 49 percent stake in Air India. The government today also said that it would further consider liberalising foreign direct investment in the aviation sector.
Last year, the government had failed to sell Air India when it had offered 74 percent stake. While a lot of parties had shown interest, none of them actually submitted bids. A few companies such as IndiGo suggested that they weren't comfortable in a joint venture with the government.
This year, it is expected that the government may divest up to 100 percent stake in the debt-ridden carrier, making the deal a lucrative one for the buyer.
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