• Desperate to come out of the financial crisis in the state and get moving to urgently generate funds for capital expenditure and infrastructure development, social welfare schemes and improving performance of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) by instilling professional and corporate business ethics, the Capt. Amarinder Singh Government in Punjab has initiated the process for disinvestment of three of the ailing large PSUs.

The decision to disinvest the now loss-making, but once robust Punjab Communications Limited (Puncom), Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC) and Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC) was taken by the state cabinet on Wednesday, based on the recommendations of the Punjab Governance Reforms and Ethics Commission (PGREC).

The process of disinvestment of these PSUs to be followed would be recommended by a Core Group of Officers, to be set up under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, and assisted by a Transaction Adviser. The report of the Core Group would be submitted to the Council of Ministers for a final decision. Other members of the Core Group would be Principal Secretary Finance, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Administrative Secretary of the concerned department and Managing Directors of the concerned PSUs. Director Public Enterprises and Disinvestment would be its Member/Convenor.

In taking the decision to disinvest, the cabinet took note that the State earned only Rs. 4.90 crore as dividend in 2017-18 from its 50-odd PSUs, while the state resources locked up in these PSUs amounted to a staggering Rs 7614 crore. The total amount of outstanding government loans of these PSUs is a whopping around Rs 25,393 crore and the unpaid loan against Government guarantee stood at Rs. 18,312 crore approximately as on March 31, 2018 (provisional).

The cabinet was influenced by the Central Government collecting around Rs. 1 lakh crore from the strategic and non-strategic disinvestment of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) in 2017-18, taking advantage of the market conditions.