Friday , April 16 2021

Air India, Bharat Petroleum Corporation to be sold by March: FM Nirmala Sitharaman – Times of India, The Times of India


NEW DELHI: The government is looking to wrap up the sale of state-run airlineAir Indiaand oil refiner and marketerBharat Petroleum Corporation(BPCL) by March, finance ministerNirmala Sitharamansaid on Saturday.

“We are moving on both with the expectation that we can complete them this year. The ground realities will play out, ”she told TOI in an exclusive interview, while referring to the strategic sale of the two state-run companies, a crucial part of the government’s plan to raise over Rs 1 lakh crore in the current fiscal year.

Sitharaman said there is a “lot of interest” among investors as evident in international road shows ahead of the sale of Air India. A year ago, the loss-making airline’s sale had to be aborted due to tepid response from investors. The government is banking on receipts fromdisinvestment– comprising strategic sale and public offers – to shore up revenues in a year when tax collections are under pressure.

The minister also said the government took measures to reverse the economic slowdown at the right time and several sectors are coming out of distress. The finance minister also said industry captains had helped improve their balance sheet and many of them were planning fresh investments.

The FM, however, said she expected GST collections to revive on the back of an improvement in sales in some segments as also due to recent efforts to plug leakages. Sitharaman also said the Supreme Court judgement on Essar Steel had established constitutionality and legal strength of the IBC law and would have a huge impact on the balance sheets of banks in the next quarter.

She said there were signs of a revival in consumer sentiment, which was manifested in demand of nearly Rs 1.8 lakh crore in loans from banks at the outreach program during the festival season.

“If consumer confidence is not on way to being restored, why would you think that such an amount would have gone out as loans during the two outreach programs started by banks? And, it it is all over the country, ”said Sitharaman.

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