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Disinvestment Drive in Offing: PM

Government may divest its stakehold in various PSUs, said PM Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, speaking after the second round of swearing-in ceremonies for Union ministers at Rashtrapati Bhawan, subtly hinted that public sector undertakings (PSUs) may see a round of disinvestments, something that he had shied away from during his previous tenure at the helm of the government.

The divestment of government’s stake in PSUs, he said, may be addressed as early as the presentation of the full Budget for 2009-10, which is slated for presentation in the first week of July.

The PM went on to reiterate that certain factors will be held in mind while carving out an overall policy framework for the future, saying, "Inclusive growth, infrastructure, fiscal prudence, employment generation and disinvestment will be tackled by the Finance Minister in the Budget."

The start could well be made for two PSUs whose disinvestment has been cleared by the Cabinet. These include NHPC and Oil India. It remains to be seen whether the government thinks the market has stabilized enough to fetch a good value in return.