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Divestment of PSUs: Don’t sell family silver, trade unions urge Centre

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 21, 2019

Ten central trade unions denounced the Centre’s decision to privatise key public sector unions. In a joint statement, they expressed their “strong protest and utter annoyance” at the decision to privatise “excellently-run, cash rich, CPSUs” and termed the move as disastrous.

“Paths pronounced are outright privatisation, partial but effective privatisation by divesting up to 76 per cent of the Government equity of the concern CPSUs. According to the decision, BPCL, CONCOR and Shipping Corporation will be sold out to private companies. Further, NTPC is being directed by the Government to buy out NEEPCO and THDC,” the statement said.

The unions said the recent economic ‘bailout packages’ benefit the big business houses and cost the exchequer of an amount of ₹1.45 lakh crore.

“More such packages are under consideration of the government. Now to make good the revenue loss, the government has resorted to selling out CPSUs with huge physical and financial assets. Shockingly, the government is turning blind eye to the fact that privatisation of CPSUs is bound to inflict revenue loss on account of loss of huge amount of taxes, duties and dividend payment by these CPSUs,” the statement said.

BPCL workers’ strike

They have also decided to support the BPCL workers in the “one-day token strike” on November 28.

“Given the aggressive desperation of the government to eliminate public sector from the economic map of India, it is felt that the need of the hour is to urgently activate the United Platform of CPSU Workers to chalk out appropriate nationwide, long-drawn struggles,” they said.

A convention of oil sector workers held here on Wednesday said 21 unions belonging to BPCL, HPCL and MRPL have served strike notice and are working to make it a grand success.

The unions will serve strike notice on December 21 for the nationwide strike planned on January 8. The CPI(M), too, extended the support for workers.

The party’s Polit Bureau said in a statement that the Centre’s decision is completely detrimental to India’s sovereignty.

Crony corporates

“The Modi government has short-listed 28 PSUs in steel, engineering, construction, aviation, electronic, ports, railways, defence production and some other sectors for privatisation within a year. In order to meet its profligate expenditure, mostly on propaganda and spin, this government is selling public assets to meet a target of raising ₹1.10 lakh crore. In the process, productive and value-creating PSUs are being sold to promote their crony corporates to gain strategic control of the Indian economy. This is akin to selling family silver to meet daily expenditures inevitably ruining the family,” the party said.

Published on November 21, 2019

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