Niti Aayog submits names of PSU banks to be privatised to Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment

Niti Aayog has been entrusted with the task of selection of names of two public sector banks and one general insurance company for the privatisation as announced in the Budget 2021-22.

Government think tank Niti Aayog has submitted to the Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment the finalised names of PSU banks to be privatised in the current fiscal as part of the disinvestment process, a senior government official said.

Niti Aayog has been entrusted with the task of selection of names of two public sector banks and one general insurance company for the privatisation as announced in the Budget 2021-22.

“We have submitted the names (of PSU banks) to the Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment,” the official said.

The other members of the high-level panel are economic affairs secretary, revenue secretary, expenditure secretary, corporate affairs secretary, legal affairs secretary, Department of Public Enterprises secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) secretary and administrative department secretary.

Following the clearance from the Core Group of Secretaries, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, the finalised names will go to Alternative Mechanism (AM) for its approval and eventually to the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister for the final nod.

Changes on the regulatory side to facilitate privatisation would start after the Cabinet approval.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had recently said “interests of workers of banks which are likely to be privatised will absolutely be protected whether their salaries or scale or pension all will be taken care of”. Explaining the rationale behind the privatisation, Ms. Sitharaman had said that banks in the country needed to be bigger, just like the State Bank of India (SBI).

“We need banks which are going to be able to scale up… We want banks that are going to be able to meet the aspirational needs of this country,” Ms. Sitharaman had said, adding that a lot of thought had gone behind the intention to privatise some public sector banks.

The government has budgeted ₹1.75 lakh crore from stake sale in public sector companies and financial institutions, including two PSU banks and one insurance company, during the current financial year. The amount is lower than the record budgeted ₹2.10 lakh crore to be raised from CPSE disinvestment in the last fiscal.

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