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|December 10, 1999||
Arun Jaitley heads new Department of Divestment
The government has set up an independent Department of Disinvestment, headed by Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, to deal with all matters relating to disinvestment in public sector undertakings.
Jaitley will hold additional independent charge of the new department, a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said today.
Official sources said the government would soon reconstitute the Disinvestment Commission and the new department would process the recommendations of the commission on disinvestment for a decision by the Union Cabinet.
All the PSUs working under various ministries at present would report to the new department in matters relating to disinvestment and pricing of their shares, the sources said.
Asked whether the government wanted to expedite disinvestment of its shares in PSUs, officials said there was no change in its policy announced in the budget for 1999-2000.
The government had set a disinvestment target of Rs 100 billion for the current financial year and there was no proposal to exceed this.
Against the target, only Rs 14.79 billion has been disinvested till the end of November, the sources said.
It is understood that a decision to create a separate department for disinvestment was taken at a meeting Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha held with the heads of the financial institutions last month.
The institutions had come out with various suggestions to accelerate the disinvestment process.
While the PSUs will deal with the new department on equity and disinvestment matters, they will continue to function under the respective ministries as at present.
This is the first time a department has been created for disinvestment.
''A considerable thought has gone into the decision'' on creating the department which would also deal with matters relating to the commission, the sources said without elaborating. The term of the previous commission expired last month, but this would be reconstituted soon.
Earlier, the Department of Public Enterprises was coordinating between various PSUs and the government on disinvestment matters.
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