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(Photo by LOU BENOIST / AFP)

The Union Cabinet will soon consider a new public sector enterprises policy that will define strategic sectors which would have not more than four state-owned firms, Economic Affairs Secretary Tarun Bajaj said.

As part of the 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan' package, the government in May had announced that there will be a maximum of four public sector companies in strategic sectors, and state-owned firms in other segments will eventually be privatised.

Under the policy, a list of strategic sectors will be notified where there will be at least one and a maximum of four public sector enterprise, apart from private sector companies.

In other sectors, central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) will be privatised, depending on the feasibility.

"The other important thing which is slightly delayed I would say and it is testing the patience of all of you and ours too, is the policy that we have to come out...(for) privatisation of our public sector units. "Though, it is an open secret, but still till it gets the stamp of the Cabinet we are not satisfied about it. It should happen very soon. So that is a major step in the making," he said while addressing a virtual conference organised by CII.

On the monetisation of assets, Bajaj said it is a focus area of the government and it is getting lot of traction.

Citing an example, he said the government has been able to privatise six airports, and now the Airport Authority of India and the Ministry of Civil Aviation are ready with the next tranche of six airports.

On the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for the MSME sector, Bajaj said it has not covered its total canvas and there are still some white spaces left. Under the scheme, 100 per cent guarantee coverage will be provided by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC) for additional funding of up to Rs 3 lakh crore to eligible MSMEs and interested Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) borrowers.

However, banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) have approved loans worth about Rs 1,87,579 lakh crore so far, while disbursement stood at Rs 1,36,140 crore as on October 5.

The government has received some specific suggestions and is working on them, he said, without giving details.

The government is providing guarantee for the Rs 3 lakh crore limit and it does not want the figure to be reduced even to Rs 2.99 lakh crore, Bajaj emphasised.

"And along with this, if we are able to take some more efforts, I'm sure we will be looking at the better Indian economy," he added.

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