On Sunday, the fifth tranche of Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcements related to PM Modi’s Aatma Nirbhar package brought some cheer to Twitterati.
Particularly thrilling was the announcement of a new coherent government policy in which all sectors are open to the private section while PSEs would play an important role in defined areas.
India and the world had undergone many changes over the last few decades. Sitharaman on Sunday emphasised the need for a "new coherent policy—where all sectors are open to the private sector while public sector enterprises (PSEs) will play an important role in defined areas".
As the presentation that went alongside Sitharaman's words put it, keeping this in mind, the government was announcing a new policy. Under this:
• List of strategic sectors requiring presence of PSEs in public interest will be notified
• In strategic sectors, at least one enterprise will remain in the public sector but private sector will also be allowed
• In other sectors, PSEs will be privatized (timing to be based on feasibility etc.)
• To minimize wasteful administrative costs, number of enterprises in strategic sectors will ordinarily be only one to four; others will be privatized/ merged/ brought under holding companies
Many hailed it on Twitter, particularly the economic right-of-centre. Some even drew a parallel with the liberalisation and privatisation policies of 1991 under the PV Narasimha Rao-led government.
As one Twitter user put it, "Cannot compute that the same lot that came up with the last two budgets are now doing this. This is starting to make '91 look like a smaller shift."
Naturally, not everyone was of the same opinion, and many on Twitter wanted to wait and watch to see how the decisions play out in the coming days.
"Of course, it's always easier to announce reforms than to actually carry them out. Best to treat the last four press conferences as the govt's intent until we actually see action," wrote one user.