The Congress yesterday slammed the government over the disinvestment of profitable public sector undertaking and accused it of selling the country.
Hitting out at the government, Congress general secretary K C Venugopal said: “This government is going to sell India totally.”
Slamming the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, the Congress leader said “they say they are not selling profitable PSUs. But they are only selling the profitable companies. This means what government says and does is completely different,” he said.
Condemning the government, Venugopal said: “On one hand they are speaking of nationalism and ‘Make in India’ and on the other hand they are selling profitable PSUs.”
He said the Congress will raise the issues in parliament.
The Congress leader’s remarks came a day after the government announced a blockbuster disinvestment plan, lining up the sale of five PSUs, including majority stakes of oil company Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), Shipping Corporation of India and a 31% stake in Container Corporation of India (Concor) along with management control.
Meanwhile West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the central government’s decision could gradually lead to disinvestment of the country itself and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consult experts and, if need be, call an all-party meeting on the issue.
“Disinvesting the public sector and using the money to manage the immediate crisis is not a permanent or the only solution. You need economic stability for a permanent solution, because otherwise the economic disaster will only intensify,” Banerjee told mediapersons in Bahrampur of Murshidabad district.
The chief minister said the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre was claiming it would get Rs1.76 lakh crore to Rs 1.80 lakh crore from multiple disinvestments.
“But so many disinvestments may lead to disinvestment of the country itself. Then what will the central government be left with? How will the country be run? I feel these aspects should be seriously considered”.
Banerjee suggested the central government hold consultations on the issue and consider everybody’s opinion in a “positive sense”.
“I think the prime minister should speak to experts in the country on this issue. If need be, there should be an all-party meeting,” the Trinamool Congress supremo said.
The Trinamool was against disinvestment, but believed there could be mergers which should protect the jobs of the officers and other staff, she said.
In this context, Banerjee expressed suspicion about the way the central government in the name of merger, moved the headquarters of the state’s lead bank UBI out of Kolkata.
“We found that in the name of merger of some banks, the headquarters of UBI, the lead bank in West Bengal, was moved away from the state. Now if such things happen, then what would be the future of the large number of schemes which operate through the banks? We have doubts about the move,” she said.
The central government on August 30 announced the mega-merger of 10 PSU banks into four, following which number of state-run banks would come down from 27 to 12, to ensure better management of capital and resulting in “stronger banks.”
As per the announcement, Punjab National Bank, the Oriental Bank of Commerce and the United Bank would merge becoming the second-largest public sector bank.
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