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Divestment issue still on the boil
Gaurav Raghuvanshi in New Delhi |
December 07, 2002 12:03 IST
The divestment issue is not yet in the bag. The ministry is set to dig its heels in on keeping government companies out of the sell-off process even as a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Divestment is planned next week soon after a panel of secretaries meets on December 11.
The debate on whether one PSU can bid for another is likely to reopen with Petroleum Minister Ram Naik pressing for letting Oil and Natural Gas Corporation bid for Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd as part of the upstream major's diversification effort to enter the downstream business.
The divestment ministry, however, is still opposed to the idea.
ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Subir Raha has said the exploration firm would be interested in either of the two PSUs (HPCL or Bharat Petroleum Corporation) to become a fully integrated oil firm.
A divestment ministry official said, "Allowing PSUs to take over other government companies cannot be termed privatisation. What is the use of letting a government company grow by taking over another PSU when the bigger entity would be divested later."
As per the current CCD decision on the issue, PSUs are to be kept out of divestment, although the policy could be 'reviewed in special cases.'
The CCD is likely to meet on December 12 to give a formal shape to the broad consensus arrived at between warring ministers yesterday on the intervention of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The core group on divestment will meet on December 11 to discuss Hindustan Cables Ltd and newsprint maker Nepa Ltd.
Divestment Minister Arun Shourie met Divestment Secretary Pradip Baijal and other senior officials at his Yojana Bhawan office despite Friday having been a public holiday on account of Eid.Sources said the divestment team chalked out the contours of Shourie's statement on divestment, to be made in Parliament early next week.