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Centre to set divestment target over Rs 1 lakh crore again, may float ETF for public sector banks

NEW DELHI: The central government is likely to aim for a disinvestment target of around Rs 1 lakh crore in the financial year 2020-21, despite having managed to garner just Rs 18,095 crore from disinvestment so far in the current fiscal, out of a target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore.

A top government official said that “with most of the bigticket disinvestments such as BPCL, MMTC, NMDC and BHEL that would fetch us large receipts pushed to next year, we will basically be repeating much of this year’s divestment plans including that of strategic divestment next financial.”

The government wanted to go ahead with strategic disinvestment of firms such as Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Bharat Earthmovers Ltd (BEML) and Nilachal Ispat Nigam Ltd (NNIL), besides Air India for which an Expression of Interest was floated on Monday. However, officials said that the calendar for strategic sales had to be postponed. “Most of the strategic sales were pushed back as the bourses were choppy,” officials said.

They said that the government would also try to raise money through two other ways: first by monetising assets and secondly, by coming up with a special Equity- Traded Fund (ETF) for public sector banks and insurance firms.

The Centre has already shortlisted consultancy firms for the sale of PSUs’ non-core assets, including land buildings, brownfield operational assets such as pipelines, roads, mobile towers and electricity transmission lines.