Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Friday suggested the central government had not held enough consultations with states on the plan to raise money using the country’s infrastructure assets, as he urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider the National Monetisation Pipeline.
Asking the Prime Minister to decide on this after speaking to stakeholders and state governments, Mr Stalin wrote a letter on the issue, saying the plan would only pave for priceless government assets going to a few conglomerates or large corporations.
“People have rights over public sector undertakings as land belonging to people and state governments were given for these,” he said, adding that the impact on the economy, employees of these undertakings and dependent small businesses was unclear.
The letter came a day after the Chief Minister told the state assembly that privatisation of public sector undertakings was not in national interest and the Tamil Nadu government would oppose the centre’s bid to privatise PSUs which are public assets.
The public sector companies of India are public assets that are designed to nurture economic growth and provide job opportunities and these are also the bedrock of small and micro enterprises, Mr Stalin said.
“It is our view that selling or leasing PSUs are not in national interest,” he said.
The public sector units functioned considering larger public good and welfare and an objective of profit alone is not the goal of such enterprises, he added.
The Chief Minister had said he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to express his government’s opposition to the union government following a trend towards privatisation of PSUs, he said.
Announced last month by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the National Asset Monetisation Pipeline plans to monetise Rs 6 lakh crore worth of state assets over the next four years to boost infrastructure spending and spur economic growth.
The plan aims to hand already built assets such as gas pipelines, roads, railway stations and warehousing facilities among others to the private sector to operate on a long-term lease, the government has said, stressing that this did not amount to privatisation or disinvestment.
Opposition parties, however, have been less than convinced and many the Congress, Trinamool Congress and Left, which govern a number states, have sharply criticised the programme saying it would only help a handful of industrialists and would hurt the employees of these government firms.