The government of India announced several important reform measures taken at a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced the decisions of the meet in a press conference.
The CCEA has given ‘in principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment of 100% government of India’s shares in Dredging Corporation of India Ltd (DCIL). The shares will be sold to a consortium of four ports, which are Vishakhapatnam Port Trust, Paradeep Port Trust, Jawahar Lal Nehru Port Trust and Kandla Port Trust. At present, the union government holds 73.44% shares in DCIL. This approval will further facilitate the linkage of dredging activities with the ports, considering the role of the company in the expansion of dredging capacity in the country. As the dredging facilities will be shared by the four ports, this will lead to savings for them.
In a second decision, the CCEA gave in-principle approval for leasing out the operation, management and development of six airports in the country under Public Private Partnership (PPP). This will be done through the Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC). The airports to come under are Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Guwahati, Lucknow, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru airports.
In a very significant decision, today the CCEA decided to give approval for ‘enemy shares’ currently held by the government of India. Enemy shares come under Enemy Properties Act, 1968, and the NDA government had brought an amendment to it in 2017 which authorised the government to sell the enemy properties in India. Under that provision, the government will be selling a total of 6,50,75,877 shares of 996 companies lying under the custody of the government. The approximate value of these shares as on 1968 is around ₹ 3,000 crore, according to Prasad. In the last 50 years since 1968, share prices have gone up by an astronomical margin, and the government is expected to gain a bumper earning on this sale. The proceeds of the same will be considered as disinvestment by the government of India.