Given the underperformance of several PSUs, the Kerala government should take a cue from the disinvestment process initiated at the Centre and initiate it at the State level, a study carried out by the Kochi-based think tank Centre for Public Policy and Research has said.

Such a course of action would put employees in the PSUs in an atmosphere of increased competition and make them more accountable and productive, it said. Heavy losses and the inefficiency that had crept into the PSUs prompted the Centre to launch the disinvestment process, Deepthi Mary Mathew, Research Associate, CPRR, said. Quoting the recent CAG report, she pointed out that 53 PSUs in Kerala are running at a loss of ₹889.89 crore. The successive governments in the State have not learned from past mistakes and instead gone ahead by adding more number of PSUs over the years.

“We have the case of large number of PSUs in Kerala that were closed, as they were not able withstand the competition in the market,” she said, citing the case of Trivandrum Rubber Works Ltd, Astral Watches Ltd, Kerala Detergents and Chemicals Ltd. It is high time the government withdrew from such engagements, she added.