FM sticks to disinvestment target

New Delhi: Undeterred by uncertainties in stock markets, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said that as of now he has no intention to lower the ambitious Rs 40,000 crore disinvestment target for this fiscal.

Disinvestment, he said, was necessary to unlock the value of state-owned companies and garner resources for funding social sector programme of the government. "I am not revising it (the target) right now. We have fixed the target and we will try to achieve it, but it depends on many other situations, particularly the economic health conditions," Mukherjee told reporters on the sidelines on a seminar on PSU disinvestment.

The Minister maintained that government will retain at least 51 per cent shareholding in PSUs. "Keeping more than 51 per cent equity in Government companies locked-up does not make economic sense when such valuable resources are required for redeployment in area where development is needed," he said while addressing the seminar.

Seven months of the ongoing fiscal are over, but the government has been only able to raise Rs 1,145 crore through the stake sale in Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and there are apprehensions that it may miss the mammoth Rs 40,000 crore target for 2011-12.

Volatile stock markets have forced the government to delay the proposed stake sales in PSUs. Global equity markets have been on a downslide on fears over the spiralling debt crisis in the euro zone, as well as credit crunch in the US. "All these aspects have to be taken into account and the government will take a decision at the appropriate time," Mukherjee said.