Government stake sale notice will come at right time: Official

New Delhi, Oct 5 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last week reviewed the situation in the government’s divestment programme in connection with generating revenue, and announcements of stake sale would be made at the appropriate time, a senior official said on Monday.

“On disinvestment, the finance minister held a review meeting last week,” Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das told reporters here at a press conference of secretaries in the finance ministry.

“Without going into a debate on strategic or non-strategic sale, I will say that the market currently is going through ups and downs,” he said.

Das said that owing to prior experience of stake sale announcements, he would not be naming specific companies being proposed for divestment.

“We have seen before that announcement of stake sale led to fall in the company’s share price, because of the need for arbitrage. So now we will decide, and go in very short time thereafter for the sale,” he added.

A senior finance ministry source told IANS that ministry officials met with those of the Bureau of Public Enterprises to discuss divestment in loss-making companies. There were 71 loss-making state-run companies in 2013-14 with combined losses of over Rs.20,000 crore.

The government has a divestment target for this fiscal year of Rs.69,500 crore, of which Rs.28,500 crore is expected to come from strategic stake sales.

Jaitley had, in May, said the government will proceed with strategic sales in some state-run enterprises.

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