In the Second edition of Mangaluru Lit Fest, Anurag Thakur was expressing his views on current economy of India, in the session ‘ Matters’.
Union minister of state for finance Anurag Thakur on Saturday defended the move of the Union government to offload stake in India’s second-largest state-owned oil refiner – BPCL by March 2020.
“The government has no business to be in running a commercial enterprise and this should be left to be effectively managed by the private sector, he said. With the stake sale, the government hopes to mobilise more than Rs 60,000 crore”. He said
Taking this stand at Mangaluru Lit Fest, Thakur to a query on stake sale said, “Will you buy something that is making a loss?” Government is striving to monetise assets so that funds can be used for infrastructure projects that it has planned to roll out, he said. Likewise, sale of Shipping Corporation of India, CONCOR, North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited and other power PSUs too are on the line.
As per Anurag Thakur the Government has drawn up plans to invest Rs 100 lakh crore in the infrastructure sector over the next five years, and it will be a great move that will generate jobs and create demand. He said adding this requires the mobilisation of funds, which the government intends to achieve by the strategic sale of its controlling stake. Incidentally, department of investment and public asset management has appointed Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd as an advisor for strategic sale BPCL.
BPCL will still get good suitors as the valuation seems attractive. The company is sitting on good infrastructure and has a stable business outlook. These should get a good response when put up for sale.
To another query on banks denying MUDRA loans to dormant Jan Dhan accounts, Thakur said this should not ideally be the case. “The government opened 37.6-lakh such no-frills account as part of its financial inclusion programme attracting deposit of Rs 1.06-lakh crore, he said adding if any bank is denying the above loan aimed at spurring entrepreneurship, he will take up the issue with the top management of the bank concerned directly.
On the economic policies of Modi government, Thakur surmised that while they may seem to pinch an individual in the short term, it will bring in the rewards when India emerges as one of the top three economies in the world.
Thakur said that even though the country’s GDP growth has fallen, foreign investors are not afraid of investing in India and have faith in India. He also justified the Central Government’s decision to merge ten banks.
“The merging of banks has let to an increase in profits. The Union Government has released Rs 2.5 lakh crores to the banks, which will increase their lending capacity of the banks and benefit the general public as well,” Thakur added.
The government has taken care of major issues before the country including Ayodhya, Triple Talaq and has already started focussing its attention on economic revival, results of which will be visible in the coming quarters.
Referring to India backing out from Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Thakur said this is another prime example of how the present government is putting national interests in the forefront. Noting that this was not the case in the past, Thakur said countries pushing for RCEP are now willing to come around to address India’s legitimate concerns and this only shows how the world as a whole is recognising India’s growing economic prowess.
Dr Sindhu Prashanth