Niti wants pipeline of assets for sale – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/finance/niti-wants-pipeline-of-assets-for-sale/articleshow/81440700.cmsSynopsis

The assets include toll road bundles, ports, cruise terminals, telecom infrastructure, oil and gas pipelines, transmission towers, railway stations, sports stadia, mountain railways, operational metro sections, warehouses and commercial complexes.

Niti Aayog has asked administrative ministries to create a pipeline of assets that can be monetised in the next four years, said people with knowledge of the matter. It’s preparing a schedule for the sustained sale of assets and companies to be privatised.

On its own, Niti Aayog has already identified about 100 assets, valued at about ₹5 lakh crore, that will be put on the fast track, said a senior government official. “Around 31 broad asset classes, mapped to 10 ministries or central public sector enterprises, have been developed,” said the official.

This list has been shared with ministries and consultations on possible investment structures have started.

These assets include toll road bundles, ports, cruise terminals, telecom infrastructure, oil and gas pipelines, transmission towers, railway stations, sports stadia, mountain railways, operational metro sections, warehouses and commercial complexes. If entities being privatised hold real estate, this will be transferred to a land management agency for disposal to expedite the process.

“Freehold land will be transferred to this proposed firm, which will monetise it through direct sale or through the real estate investment trust or REIT model,” said another government official.

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‘A Paradigm Shift in Infra Augmentation’
At a workshop on asset monetisation held on Tuesday, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) urged administrative ministries and state governments to speed up processes at their end, including land classification.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman noted at the workshop that asset monetisation by the government should not be viewed as just a funding mechanism but as an overall strategy for bringing about a “paradigm shift in infrastructure augmentation and maintenance.”

The transfer of land will also help shut loss-making entities. The government plans to reduce the time taken for closure of such companies by half. As per the latest data, there were more than 70 loss-making, state-run entities that reported a combined loss of Rs 31,635 crore in FY19.

The government intends to close all loss-making units. Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that loss-making, state-run firms are a burden on taxpayers.

The government has a disinvestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore for FY22. It had budgeted Rs 2.1 lakh crore from disinvestment proceeds in FY21 but has raised only about Rs 21,300 crore so far through stake sales. In the budget for FY22, the government has also proposed incentives for states that privatise public sector entities.

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