Making a strong pitch for privatisation of public sector units, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the government has no business to be in business and his administration is committed to privatising all PSUs barring the bare minimum in four strategic sectors.

“When a government engages in business, it leads to losses. The government is bound by rules and the lack of courage to take bold commercial decisions,” PM Modi said, addressing a Webinar on privatisation by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management 

It is government’s duty to support enterprises and businesses. But it is not essential that it should own and run enterprises,” he added.

The prime minister also said the Centre’s policy is to either monetise or modernise public sector enterprises, with the intent that the government has “no business to be in business”.

Fiscal support to sick PSUs puts burden on the economy and public sector units should not be run just because of legacy, the Prime Minister said, adding many PSUs are loss-making and supported by taxpayers’ money.

Regarding asset monetisation, he said that the government has zeroed in on 100 assets as part of its asset monetisation pipeline, while will open up investment opportunities to the tune of Rs 2.5 trillion for the private sector

The government had earlier indicated that it will move out of non-strategic sectors and listed 18 strategic sectors, including banking, insurance, steel, fertiliser, petroleum and defence equipment, where it would retain only a limited presence.

The Union Budget announced the shedding of the government stake in Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) through an initial public offering (IPO). For the next financial year, the government has also lined up privatisation of Air India, Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), Container Corporation of India (CONCOR), Pawan Hans, NINL and Shipping Corporation of India (SCI)

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