Mangaluru, December 1, 2019: Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur defended the move of the Union government to offload stake in India’s second-largest state-owned oil refiner, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) by March 2020.
“Will you buy something that is making loss?,” he asked while replying to a question during a session on ‘money matters’ at the last day of Mangaluru Literary Festival.
The minister said the sale of Shipping Corporation of India, CONCOR, North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited and other power PSUs too are in the pipeline, adding that the government is striving to monetise assets so that funds can be used to take up infrastructure projects.
The minister said the government has plans to invest Rs.100 lakh crore in the infrastructure sector over the next five years. It will create employment opportunities. With the BPCL’s stake sale, the government hopes to mobilise more than Rs.60,000 crore, Mr. Thakur said.
Replying to another question on the economic slow down in the country, he said it is a “cyclical wind” and it will improve in the days to come. “Structurally, our economy is very strong. The foundation is strong. India has a strong economy,” the minister said.
Mr. Thakur said the total capital inflow into the country has increased over the years. The inflation is under control, and the foreign direct investment has increased. “The growth graph will go upwards in the coming quarters,” the minister said.
Referring to the merger of 10 public sector banks into four entities, Mr. Thakur said the move will put banks in a better position to lend. He said the demonetisation, introducing GST and other economic polices of the National Democratic Alliance government may pinch an individual in the short term. But the decisions have been taken in the interest of the country.
On the economic policies of Modi government, Thakur surmised that while they may seem to pinch an individual in the short term, it will bring in the rewards when India emerges as one of the top three economies in the world.“The government has taken care of major issues before the country including Ayodhya, triple talaq and has already started focussing its attention on economic revival, results of which will be visible in the coming quarters,” he said
To another query on banks denying MUDRA loans to dormant Jan Dhan accounts, Thakur said this should not ideally be the case. ’The government opened 37.6-lakh such no-frills account as part of its ’financial inclusion’ programme attracting deposit of Rs 1.06-lakh crore,’ he said adding if any bank is denying the above loan aimed at spurring entrepreneurship, he will take up the issue with the top management of the bank concerned directly.