Govt hopes to complete sale of Air India, Bharat Petroleum by March 2020

The government hopes to complete the sale of Air India and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) by March 2020, a news report in the Times of India cited finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman as saying on Saturday.

While the government had to put off the sale of Air India twice because of lack of investor interest, Sitharaman said the international roadshows conducted by the government have helped raise a “lot of interest” among investors about the sale of Air India.
“We are moving on both with the expectation that we can complete them this year. The ground realities will play out,” Sitharaman told the Times of India.
The government had to shelve plans for Air India’s stake sale twice earlier due to lukewarm response by investors, the finance minister stated the strategic disinvestment of the two state-run companies is critical for the government to raise finances and meet its disinvestment target of Rs1,00,000 crore for the current fiscal year.
Despite several steps announced by the government to reverse the economic slowdown, several sectors are yet to come out of distress, especially the automobile sector, which is also the largest employment provider in the country.
Further, she said, the recent tax reductions announced by the government had contributed to improving balance sheets of companies, and several companies are also mulling fresh investments.
The finance minister said she expected GST collections to revive following an improvement in sales in some segments as well as government’s recent efforts to plug leakages.
On the Supreme Court’s recent verdict on Essar Steel, Sitharaman said the ruling has strengthened the constitutionality and legal strength of the IBC law and it would have a significant impact on the balance sheets of banks in the next quarter.
She also claimed there were indications of revival in consumer sentiment, which was exhibited in demand of around Rs1,80000crore in loans from banks at the outreach programme during the festival season.
“If consumer confidence is not on way to being restored, why would you think that such an amount would have gone out as loans during the two outreach programmes started by banks? And, it is all over the country,” the finance minister was quoted as saying.
The government is planning to wrap up the sale of the two state-owned debt-ridden companies Air India and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) by March next year, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Times of India, in an interview published on Sunday, 17 November.
"We are moving on both with the expectation that we can complete them this year. The ground realities will play out," Sitharaman was quoted as saying.
The Finance Minister said that there is a “lot of interest” among investors for the sale of Air India.
The strategic disinvestment of the two state-run companies is critical for the government to meet its disinvestment target of Rs 1 trillion for the current fiscal year, Sitharaman added.