Centre plans stake sales in 28 state-run firms: Minister

New Delhi


Union Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur on Monday informed the Lok Sabha that the Union Cabinet has given "in-principle" approval for the sale of strategic stake in 28 state-run companies, including national carrier Air India.

On the first day of the winter session of Parliament, the Minister said in a written reply that the Central government has so far raised 17,364 crore in fiscal 2019-20 as disinvestment proceeds against the full-year's target of 1,05,000 crore.

Countering Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann's allegation that the country is facing a slump in the economy, Thakur said: " Where did you get the figure? There is no economy slump of 5 per cent in India."

He said that the country continues to be the fastest growing economy in the world.

Speaking on the economy during Question Hour, the Minister said the merger of banks and tax concessions to industries, measures to boost foreign direct investments and for the MSME sector were among the steps the government had taken to strengthen the economy.

"By 2025, India will be a five trillion dollar economy," he said.

The Minister also said that several banks have been merged with bigger banks and the ultimate aim of the government is to keep four strong banks with solid footing and ensure increased economic activity.

He informed the House that the government has taken strong action to curb black money and the number of taxpayers has doubled as a result of demonetisation and implementation of the GST regime.

Citing National Statistical Office (NSO) data, Thakur said the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth on average was 7.5 per cent in 2014-19, which is the highest amongst G-20 countries.

"Yet India, despite some recent deceleration of GDP growth, is still projected by WEO to grow at the fastest rate in 2019-20 among G-20 countries.

To address the moderate fixed investment rate in the economy, the Minister said the government has been taking several measures like plateauing of the private consumption rate and modest export performance aimed at increasing GDP growth.

In the last five years, Thakur said the government has implemented major reforms to build the investment climate in the country for becoming a 5 trillion-dollar economy.

Referring to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), the Minister said it is a significant step towards cleaning and strengthening the financial system of the country.

"More recently, the government has cut corporate tax rate from 30 per cent to 22 per cent to boost investment activity in the country. In particular, the corporate tax rate has been cut to 15 per cent for new domestic manufacturing companies which is amongst the lowest in the world," he added.IANS