The central government is moving for disinvestment of Air India, if the reports in the papers are any indication. On the plea of reducing the loss of the company, the Air India wants to sell shares to the extend of Rs.10,000 crores. This is nothing short of gradually increasing the disinvestment of Air India with the programme of privatisation in future.
The Modi Government has decided to privatise many government corporations and to sell up to 51% to private in some other corporations. It seems that as per this decision, the BJP government will dispose almost all the central PSUs to the private in the name of garnering funds for the government.
Thousands of acres of land in various metro cities owned by these corporations are going to be handed over to the private companies from meagre amounts. Existing employees of these PSUs will lose jobs, once these are transferred to private.
The Central trade unions and the public sector unions have to confront this all round attack and defeat the government conspiracy. Otherwise, there will be no central PSUs by about one decade.
The strong opposition of the unions has compelled the government to retract to convert the Port Trust to a company and disinvestment of its shares. The proposal of the government was in accordance of the neo-liberal policy to gradually disinvest and sell the corporations to private companies. We congratulate the Port workers Unions.
The new financial year has started. So also the spree of selling the PSU shares! The latest is the proposed disinvestment of 5% shares of Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers (RCF), 10% of National Fertilisers Limited (NFL), 10% in NMDC, 10% in HUDCO and 10% in Oil India. The government has already sold 11.36% shares NHPC a few days back.
If this trend goes, within a few years, the control of all PSUs will be in the hands of the private corporates. Mighty united struggles by the working class are required to save the PSUs. The Central Trade Unions in their strike decision for 2nd September 2016 have included ‘No Disinvestment of PSUs’ as one of the main demands.
The government should be compelled retract from these anti-PSU decisions.
The government has decided to further disinvest NTPC by 5%, with the idea of getting about Rs. 5,000 crores to reduce its deficit. 412.2 million shares are proposed to be sold at the rate of Rs. 122 per share. The share of the government in this prestigious and profitable PSU will be reduced from 74.96% to 69.96% after the sale.
The government has already sold shares of Oil India Limited, Container Corporation of India, NDMC, MMTC and ITDC in this fiscal garnering Rs.13,277 crore.
‘Disinvestment’ is a negative process and the word itself is negative. Hence the government and finance experts have started using another word for it, ‘Divestment’. But whether the negativeness of disinvestment will go if the word is changed to divestment? NO!
Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has strongly condemned the move of the NDA government to disinvest the globally competitive engineering giant BHEL, the profitable oil PSUs like ONGC, HPCL, BPCL, the Defence sector PSUs like BEML, HAL etc which are already shortlisted for the strategic sale. This is tantamount to putting the country on sale, reflecting the desperate economic condition in the country, despite the high sounding claims of the government.
The CITU called upon the workers to be ready for a serious struggle against disinvestment and strategic sale of the PSUs. It has called upon its unions to organise protest at each work place and also through sending fax/ emails to Union Finance Minister and the Prime Minister demanding ‘Stop disinvestment in PSUs; No to strategic sale’.
Supreme Court rejects further disinvestment of Hindustan Zinc Ltd.
In an important judgment, the Supreme Court has rejected the proposal of the government to dilute its 29% shares in Hindustan Zinc Limited stating that a Parliament decision is required in the matter since the corporation was formed by an act of Parliament. The apex court also asked the government, why it is in a hurry to sell the government assets. When the advocate for Vedanta, the company which has the majority shares with it, pointed out that when they took over the company it was loss-making, but now it is profitable because of its present management, the SC commented that why not the government also gets a part of the profit because of its shares. SC also asked the Advocate General “What is the hurry to hand over valuable assets worth lakhs of crores? Without permission of the court you can’t go for disinvestment”. As such the disinvestment of residual stake of the company has been stopped for the present.
Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, in a parliament reply has stated that there is no proposal to disinvest BSNL. He also stated that BSNL is improving its financial position. This is the victory of the BSNL employees. Their continuous struggle against disinvestment and privatisation and for the revival of BSNL is bearing fruits. Congratulations to the BSNL workers and their unions and Forum.
However, we have to be ever vigilant. The government which pursues the neo-liberal policy aggressively may be waiting for a suitable time to re-start its disinvestment line for BSNL. Eternal vigilance is required.
The government has decided to disinvest 5% shares of the Dredging Corporation. The selling spree continues.
Selling family silver has become the most important function of the Modi government. The government is the custodian of the nations’s assets and not their owner.