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FM Rejects Opposition Charge of 'Selling Family Silver'; Says Govt Wants Some PSUs to Do Well

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents the Budget 2021.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents the Budget 2021.

Efforts have been undertaken to address the trust deficit between business and the government through steps like limiting tax assessments, and the enterprises have to now respond by complying.

Rejecting the Opposition's charge of 'selling family silver', Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said the government has devised a clear strategy on divestment for the first time so that taxpayers' money is spent wisely. She also said the government wants few public sector enterprises in specified sectors to do well, so that "we can ensure that taxpayer money is spent wisely".

"It is not what the Opposition says about selling family silver, it's not at all," she said addressing a meeting of business people here. The finance minister added, "Family silver should be strengthened, it should be our takat (strength)… Because you've spread it so thinly, there are many of them (PSUs) that are not able to survive; and the few that can perform do not get the due attention." She also said the government's aim is to prime them through this policy. "You need them, you need them to scale up so that they meet the aspirations of growing India." At the same event, Hindustan Unilever Chairman and Managing Director Sanjiv Mehta said the Budget 2021 is India's version of the "new deal" by focusing on relief, recovery and reform, and represents a "confident and unapologetic India".

Efforts have been undertaken to address the trust deficit between business and the government through steps like limiting tax assessments, and the enterprises have to now respond by complying. BSE Chief Executive Officer Ashishkumar Chauhan said the only parallel for the Budget is with the 1991 reforms document presented by then finance minister Manmohan Singh.

He also underlined the newest proposals as significant because they are not being undertaken under any duress.

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