Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahai on Wednesday accused the BJP government of having put the national assets on “grand clearance sale” through National Monetization Pipeline (NMP) which he said will have grave negative consequences for the country.
Addressing mediapersons here alongwith JKPCC Chief G.A. Mir, Sahai said that there is a genuine concern that the NMP will lead to monopolies (or, at best, duopolies) in key sectors such as ports, airports, solar power, telecom, natural gas pipeline, petroleum pipeline and warehousing.
Asserting that a “big lie” has been exposed, the former Union Minister said that the Prime Minister Mr. Narindwer Modi and his Ministers have vociferously denounced the Congress government and all other previous governments , including, ironically, that led by Atal Behari Vajpayee, for doing nothing and building nothing for 70 years, as if India had attained Independence only in May 2014. However, on 23 August when the Finance Minister released a list of assets that were proposed to be monetized, she failed to disclose when those assets were built.
Sahai raised serious question on the process and manner as there were no discussions in the Parliament, there was no draft paper on NMP, there were no consultations with the stake holders, especially the employees and trade unions and the policy was hacked in secrecy and announced suddenly.
Referring the long list of assets proposed to be monetized, the Senior Congress leaders said that by a stroke of pen, Modi and his Finance Minister have threatened to reduce India’s Public Sector assets to near zero. They claimed that the government will collect a rent of 1,50, 000 crore per year and hold on to a piece of paper that it is the owner of the assets.
Pointing out glaring absence of criteria in the collection of PSUs brought under the NMP, he said that the annual revenue currently being yielded by the chosen assets, has not been disclosed, there is no clarity on jobs and reservations, whether the present number of jobs ibn the monetized units will be maintained and eventually enhanced ? will reservation of SC, ST and OBCs be maintained or abolished, he questioned.
The Former Union Minister said that the policy of disinvestment and privatization has evolved over the years since 1991 but certain criteria was also set for choosing the units to be privatized.
Surprisingly, railways has been removed as a strategic sector. It is now classified as a non-core asset even while market economies such as the UK, France, Italy and Germany have retained railways (or the bulk of the country’s railway system) in the public sector.
He said that there is every possibility that prices will further rise in many sectors, as once monetized, the PSUs will cease to be price stabilizer in the market.