Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Union Budget 2021 speech on Monday announced strategic divestment in two public sector companies and financial institutions, including two nationalised banks and one insurance company, in the next fiscal year. Ms Sitharaman also put disinvestment receipts at ₹1.75 lakh crore for fiscal year beginning April 1, 2021.
In an interview after the Union Budget to Doordarshan, she said, “We need more SBIs. But some banks (public sector) simply don't get well despite pumping more money into them.”
The name of the two nationalised banks and the firm is yet to be revealed.
“Inspite of the coronavirus pandemic, we kept working towards strategic sale of BPCL (Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited), IDBI Bank, Air India, which will be completed in 2021-22,” she said.
Ms Sitharaman said that idle assets will not contribute to “Atmanirbhar Bharat” or self-reliant India. “A revised mechanism will be introduced for timely closure of loss making nationalised banks,” she added.
When asked if it would be easy to privatise PSU banks given India's history of nationalising banks, she said, “We will reason it out. We will allow them to scale up.”
Sitharaman said NITI Aayog has also been asked to come up with the list of companies that may be disinvested in the next round.