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PSUs not in disarray, but thriving under Modi regime: FM on Cong allegations

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NEW DELHI, May 8: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said PSUs have suffered under the Congress-led UPA government and previously neglected ones like, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), have seen a ‘resurgence’ under the Modi government.

Rebutting allegations by the Congress party and its leader Rahul Gandhi that state-owned companies are in a disarray, Sitharaman said such claims are a textbook example of the pot calling the kettle black.

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In a post on X, the Minister said that under the Modi-government, public sector undertakings (PSUs) are thriving, benefiting significantly from the culture of professionalism infused in them along with increased operational freedom.

PSUs have suffered under the Congress-led UPA government. PSUs that were previously neglected under the UPA government, such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, have seen a resurgence under the Modi government, she said.

“Repeated claims from “the @INCIndia ecosystem and @RahulGandhi in particular that Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) are being dismantled & are in disarray under the current government are a textbook example of ‘Ulta Chor Kotwal Ko Daante’ (pot calling the kettle black), as the facts reveal a very different picture,” Sitharaman asserted.

Accusing Gandhi of “maliciously” attacking HAL, Sitharaman said, contrary to his claims, HAL’s market valuation has skyrocketed by 1,370 per cent in merely four years, rising from Rs 17,398 crore in 2020, to Rs 2.5 lakh crore as of May 7, 2024.

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HAL on March 31, 2024 announced its highest-ever revenue of more than Rs 29,810 crore for FY 2023-24 and has a robust order book of over Rs 94,000 crore.

“These figures hardly suggest a “weakening” institution but rather one experiencing significant fortification. Contrary to @RahulGandhi’s  claim, it was the Congress party that left India crippled, relying heavily on imports rather than empowering our own institutions like HAL,” Sitharaman wrote.

Historically, Congress has shown a lack of faith in our nation’s scientists and engineers, fostering a dependency on imports that branded India as the world’s largest arms importer for many years, she said, adding it is only under Prime Minister Narendra Modi that we see a significant shift — turning India from an import-dependent country to one that’s now proudly stepping into the role of an arms exporter.

She said, the government’s focus on capital expenditure has led to substantial growth in the stock performance of PSUs, as the net worth of all Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) increased 82 per cent from Rs 9.5 lakh crore as of March 2014, to Rs 17.33 lakh crore as of 2022-23 fiscal.

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“The greater alignment of management incentives (through the sharpening of performance-linked incentives), capital management guidelines on dividends, buybacks, etc. and the calibration of the disinvestment strategy have helped improve the performance of the CPSEs and reposed investor confidence,” Sitharaman said.

Due to better management of PSUs, their share prices have tremendously increased in the last three years, she said, adding the total market cap of all 81 listed PSUs (62 CPSEs, 12 Public Sector Banks, 3 Public Sector Insurance Companies and IDBI Bank) has grown by 225 per cent.

Giving a comparative analysis of the performance of PSU stocks under former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Bajpayee-led NDA government, via-a-vis the 10 year (2004-09) of UPA rule, she said during 1999-2004 (NDA): PSU index soared over 300 per cent, vastly outperforming the BSE Sensex’s 70 per cent gain.

During 2004-09 (UPA I): The PSU index rose by 60 per cent, but this was only half the growth rate of the Sensex. During 2009-14 (UPA II): The PSU index declined by 6 per cent, while the benchmark surged by 73 per cent.

Sitharaman said the increased defence spending and aim of achieving ‘Atmanirbharta’ in Defence has fuelled the growth of PSUs like Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), HAL, Mazagon Dock, etc.

“In FY 2023-24 alone, India has reported arms exports worth Rs 21,000 crore. This achievement showcases our government’s robust confidence in our scientists and engineers, a stark contrast to @INCIndia’s approach,” she said.

Stating that there has been a turnaround of companies like Air India and Neelachal Ispat Nigam ltd (NINL) post privatisation, she said the Congress party is making false and baseless claims regarding people losing jobs after disinvestment. (PTI)





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