Bye bye Maharaj? FM says Modi govt will sell Air India and Bharat Petroleum by March 2020

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said that the government is planning to sell the state-run airline Air India and the oil marketing PSU Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) by March 2020.

The FM has quoted the strategic disinvestment of both state-run companies is critical for the government to meet its disinvestment target of Rs 1 lakh crore for the current fiscal year.

"We are moving on both with the expectation that we can complete them this year. The ground realities will play out," Sitharaman told a leading daily.

FM Nirmala also added saying that there is a "lot of interest" among investors which is clearly visible in the international roadshows ahead of Air India's sale. The government had to drop the national carrier's stake sale last year due to the investors’ not-so-enthusiastic response. The government is now counting on proceeds from disinvestment to give an upward headstart to its revenues in a year when tax collections suggest a likely fiscal slippage.

FM Nirmala told a news daily that the government is taking multiples measures to stop the economic downfall of teh country. She said that the GST collections are expected to revive after an improvement in sales from some segments as well as owing to the government's measures to plug leakages lately.

FM Nirmala said that the consumer sentiment seems to be reviving with indications such as the demand of around Rs 1.8 lakh crore in loans from banks at the outreach programme 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 programmes started by banks? And, it is all over the country," the finance minister told the news daily.

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