Privatisation drive to boost economic growth

Thursday, 27 February 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The Indian government Thursday reiterated its commitment to privatisation of state-owned companies, saying divestment of public sector undertakings would have significant impact on the country's economic growth.

"Through the decade of the 1990s, there has been an increasing consensus on the merits of privatisation," said the government in its annual economic survey for fiscal 2002-03.

"The aggregate balance sheet assets of all public sector companies amount to roughly 22 trillion," said the survey presented to Parliament.

"This suggests that relatively modest improvements in the efficiency of their functioning would have a significant impact upon GDP (gross domestic product) growth."

The economic survey came a day before the presentation of the federal budget for 2003-02 by Finance Minister Jaswant Singh Friday.

India's ambitious privatisation drive, projected as the cornerstone of the reforms programme, has repeatedly come under attack in recent months, with the ruling coalition's allies demanding a review of the divestment agenda.

New Delhi had planned to raise 120 billion from the sale of shares in state-owned firms in the current financial year ending March. It has, however, managed to mop up 33.42 billion till January.

The public sector units that were privatised till January in the current fiscal year include carmaker Maruti Udyog Ltd., Hindustan Zinc Ltd., and 10 hotels of the India Tourism Development Corporation.

Source: IANS
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