Sunday , July 3 2022

Neither is Aayog | Sale of public assets: Coming soon: Big sale of sarcars



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NEW DELHI: If it does, it could prove to be the mother of all sales of public assets – Rs 3 lakh Crore Crore from revenues through monetization of public sector power lines, telecommunication towers, gas pipelines, airports and as ET by earlier reported land plots.

After consulting with many ministries, the government think tank has compiled a list of assets that can be sold, including Power Grid power lines, BSNL & MTNL towers, Gail India Ltd pipelines, airports in some cities, and major real estate properties from central enterprises from the public sector. CPSEs on Niti's list of non-marketable assets include National Textile Corporation, Hindustan antibiotics and NTPC.

"The idea is to encourage the CPSE to monetize its existing assets and use the proceeds to fund the assets on the green," said a government official.


Spent revenue to go to Govt


The official added that if CPSEs are not able to use the proceeds for capital expenditures, they will go to the government through dividends or other means. The official refused.

"The towers of BSNL & MTNL can be further leased or in some cases sold directly," said the employee cited above, adding that GAIL's pipeline activity could be transferred from the parent company and made available to long-term lease or fully sold depending on the interest of the buyer.

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BSNL and MTNL have already leased 13,051 and 392 mobile tower sites to private telecommunications providers, respectively. Powergrid owns and operates about 1.45,400 km of power lines, GAIL owns over 11,500 km of natural gas pipelines in the country.

In March 2019, the Brookfield Canadian Fund purchased 1400 km of pipeline owned by Reliance Industries for 14,000 rupees.

The Department of Investment and Public Assets Management (DIPAM) has already expressed an interest in the appointment of consultants to provide advisory services in transactions for securing land asset revenue.

"Land assets can also be realized through the Real Estate Investment Route (REIT). Companies such as Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Cushman & Wakefield and Colliers International have already expressed their interest, "said another employee familiar with the development. He spoke too.

There will be more focus on strategic sales this year as the government has a mandate to reduce its participation in select public-sector companies to below 51%. The government has set a target of disinvestment of Rs 1.05 lakh crore in 2019-20.

Finance Minister Nirmal Sitharaman said the central government would be open to slashing its stake below 51% in a state-owned company, provided the combined share of government and state agencies remained above that threshold. There is already 'unprincipled' approval for strategic disinvestment of 23 public sector central enterprises (CPSEs).

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