New Delhi, Jul 6: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday maintained that though the Government is keen to give a greater push to disinvestment process and strategic stakes sales of PSUs, it is determined to protect the 51 per cent shares.
“The Government’s control will not be diluted….,” Ms Sitharaman told a group of print journalists sharing her views on the maiden Budget presented in Parliament on Friday.
She said the Centre would release to people or employees the extra stake above 51 per cent in a public sector company during disinvestment process provided that the government would not lose its hold over such state-run firms.
Answering questions, she said so far the government has the CPSEs list where the CCEA has given 'in principle' approval for strategic disinvestment. Ms Sitharaman, who became the first woman Finance Minister to present the Budget, said the process for many of them has already been done during the previous regime. In this context, she said Air India was not in the list but the Government in the Budget proposals on Friday included the national carrier as a special case.
“CCEA approved list is what we have before us. I have made special mention of Air India which is not part of CCEA list,” she said.Asked about the disinvestment in Air India, she said the methodology for re-initiating the process was being chalked out. The government had earlier fixed disinvestment target of Rs 80,000 crore which was increased to Rs 90,000 crore earlier this year and the Budget proposals have now fixed a higher target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore.
The Government has decided to focus on non-financial public sector and raft of manufacturing companies will be considered for disinvestment.Ms Sitharaman said the Budget 2019-20 has a lot of realism into it in which the figures are achievable and not exaggerated.“The Budget has a lot of realism into it. People, outsiders and officials have felt that targets which we have set for ourselves in the Budget are achievable and reasonable. There is no exaggeration of any targets, inclusive of disinvestment,” she said.
Asked about that the decision of giving Aadhar as an option for filing Income Tax return would fade out the role of PAN card, Ms Sitharaman said the government was giving people more options and facilitating them to file their returns on time. “Addhar have been distributed to so many people. With this we have addressed the problem of some people who do not have PAN card but want to file returns,” she added.She also indicated that in future PAN card could become redundant if technology helps in rolling out Aadhaar as a single identity.
In response to question whether the Government has neglected the middle class in the Budget, the Finance Minister said the Centre has given the more space for using of public transport, reduced an additional Income Tax of Rs 1.5 lakh on affordable home loans of up to Rs 45 lakh.Besides, the Government is promoting electric vehicles, slashed GST rates on electric vehicles, which is in fact for middle class only, she added. (UNI)