The growing number of COVID-19 cases has put a hold or say slowed down the government’s privatisation drive. Along with Public Sector Banks (PSBs), many other public sector units were on the radar under this drive. According to the Times of India report, some high-profile stake sales may get delayed.
NITI Aayog has approved the names for privatisation of two banks, one insurance company and 7-8 other state-run companies. In addition, the proposed IPO of the country’s largest insurer LIC is also making progress stated the report.
In the past, it was reported that PSBs namely Punjab National Bank (PNB), Union Bank, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Bank of Baroda and State Bank of India that were part of the consolidation, will not be included in privatisation (at least in the first round). In August 2019, the government had undertaken a massive consolidation exercise merging 10 PSBs into four. Now, there are around 12 PSBs as against the earlier figure of 27 PSBs.
Meanwhile, the news report stated, stake sales of Air India, BPCL, Shipping Corporation and BEML are in the advanced stages and is likely to conclude in the current financial year.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had in her Budget speech in 2021 said that other than IDBI Bank, the government proposes to take up the privatisation of two public sector banks and one general insurance company in the year 2021-22. But now reports suggest that the government may be considering privatisation of IDBI Bank as well.
In the case of COVID cases, India continues to record over two lakh cases a day, with 2,59,170 new cases in the last 24 hours as of April 20 . This is slightly lower than the previous day's tally. The country also recorded 1,761 deaths - the highest single-day death toll since the pandemic began.