Punjab to divest stake in 3 PSUs
Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has set the ball rolling for disinvesting government stake in three loss-making public sector undertakings — Punjab Communications Limited (PUNCOM), Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC) and Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC). This is the first attempt to sell stake in PSIDC and PFC, though several attempts to sell stake in PUNCOM have been made by both the previous government of Capt Amarinder Singh and the Akali-BJP government. Initially, the proposal was only to wind up the two corporations. However, the Punjab Governance Reforms and Ethics Commission headed by KR Lakhanpal had recommended disinvestment in these three entities. Disinvestment would help in raising funds for capital expenditure and infrastructure development, funding social welfare schemes and improving the performance of public sector undertakings, said the report. The decision to disinvest government stake was taken at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. However, there is speculation about the three public sector undertakings being able to generate viable bids, especially when the liabilities are more than the asset base. Official sources said a transactional adviser will help to identify the liabilities and asset base of each of these entities. “In case where the liabilities are more than the assets, the state government will have to chip in to clear the liabilities — which could be done either by clearing it on a lumpsum basis, or over a period of time.