Kolkata: The West Bengal Assembly Thursday passed a resolution against the Union government’s decision to initiate privatisation of central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) and demanded that it be revoked immediately.
The motion was jointly moved by the ruling TMC and the opposition Congress and CPI(M) under Rule 185.
“We condemn such an attempt to privatise central PSEs or initiate disinvestment. We will oppose any move to disinvest PSEs. This decision should be immediately revoked. In the list of 46 PSEs, 10 are from West Bengal. All of us should oppose it irrespective of political affiliation,” State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said.
Speaking on the motion, CPI(M) legislative party leader Sujan Chakraborty echoed Chatterjee’s views and said the Bengal government, while criticising the central government on the issue, should not walk on the same path.
“We should not forget to what happened to our own State government-owned Metro Dairy — the way it was sold to a private company,” Chakraborty said.
Metro Dairy is now a subsidiary of Keventer Agro Ltd — a private company.
Senior Congress leader Asit Mitra proposed that an all-party delegation, including the Lok Sabha MPs and Union ministers of BJP from Bengal, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and place the demand to revoke the disinvestment decision.
Later, BJP legislature party leader Manoj Tigga told reporters that there is nothing wrong in disinvestment of PSEs.
Presenting the Union Budget, Sitharaman had said the government has been following the policy of disinvestment in non-financial public sector undertakings while maintaining that the government stake in those would not go below 51%.
The Centre will initiate privatisation of CPSEs, including Air India, as it sets a record high disinvestment target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore that will see the government lowering its stake in some CPSEs to below 51%.
While the strategic sale will entail outright privatisation in some CPSEs, the government’s direct holding can be brought down below 51% but the effective control will remain with the government after considering the holding of other State-owned entities, like the Life Insurance Corporation.