New Delhi: The Union government has said it will sell stocks worth crores seized from people who moved to Pakistan following the Partition in 1947 and the wars since, as a way to make up for a shortfall in revenues.
The government’s move comes as it is casting around for funds to support welfare programmes ahead of the 2019 General Elections. It is also struggling to meet its target of raising a record 1 trillion rupees from the sale of state assets in the current fiscal year ending in March 2019. The stocks worth at least Rs 3,000 crore are part of what “enemy properties” that once belonged to people who went to Pakistan and China.
Once these Indian nationals became citizens of these two countries, they were treated as “enemy” and their assets, including land and houses as well as shares, were seized and held by the Custodian of Enemy Property of India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been tightening the provisions of the Enemy Property Act 1968 to include even lawful heirs who stayed behind and were Indian citizens. Modi’s cabinet on Thursday approved a plan to sell 6.5 crore shares in 996 companies held by 20,323 shareholders, deemed as “enemy shares.”
The government said of these companies, 588 were active firms, including 139 listed on the stock exchange. “The decision will lead to monetisation of enemy shares that had been lying dormant for decades since coming into force and the Enemy Property Act in 1968,” it said. Pakistan had enacted a similar law & seized properties of those who left for India.
The government said the proceeds from the sale of stocks held under enemy assets would be treated as part of the divestment proceeds.”The government will gain from the sales of enemy shares and the proceeds will be used for development and social welfare of our people,” said Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.