Finance Minister says govt is open to privatisation of certain loss-making PSUs

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

New Delhi, Nov 5: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the government is open to privatisation of certain loss-making public sector companies.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Arun Jaitley Said: “Certainly I would be interested to look at some PSUs (which) could do much better in private hands,” while referring to public sector undertakings.

He said the government will soon unveil reforms for other natural resources sectors along the lines of coal block auctions.

The Finance Minister said: “India had fallen off global radar over last 2-3 years. Buzz around India is back,” addding “allegations of crony capitalism were true (under last government) and element of fairness in the system was lacking.”

Jaitley said that reforms in developed society are different because people there have already tasted fruits of development. In a country where a very large number of people are so poor, for governments to push reforms is far more challenging, he added.

“Our reform process cannot be one that simply confronts public opinion – doubts have to be cleared,” he said, adding “debate has to continuously go on.”

He also referred to the opening up of defence sector and said it was always considered very sacrosanct in India.

Retrospective tax (Vodafone case) was a bad idea which damaged the economy, he said, adding “taxpayers can’t continue to pay for loss-making businesses. We will continue on path of divestment. Will look at some Public Sector Units that may do better in private hands.”

He also added that the government is in the process of liberalizing insurance sector a little more and expressed hope that the amended bill would be passed by parliament later this month.

(With Agency Inputs)

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