Indian State Chief Opposes Public Firms’ Privatisation, Asks Modi to Consult All Parties on Economy

© REUTERS / Brendan McDermidFILE PHOTO: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 27, 2019
FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 27, 2019 - Sputnik International
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New Delhi (Sputnik): The firebrand state politician last year vehemently opposed the federal government’s decision to sell a 76 percent stake in India’s national carrier Air India. The ailing airline has not yet found any takers.

Opposing the central government’s decision to privatise India’s public sector companies, West Bengal State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi to talk to experts and all political parties to tide over the economic crisis.

“I feel the prime minister should talk to experts in the country and hold an all-party meeting to overcome the crisis”, the chief minister stated, while raising concerns about the government’s unilateral decision.

Banerjee said that the sale of the government's stake in public sector units is a temporary measure. “The Centre should look for a permanent solution instead of advocating stop-gap measures. Unless there is economic stability, such measures cannot be the solution”.

The Indian Cabinet on Wednesday approved disinvestment of a 53.29% stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), 30.8 percent in Container Corporation of India, and 63.75 percent in Shipping Corporation of India, along with two other public sector companies.

The decision is likely to fetch the government $11.2 billion, according to Indian Finance Ministry sources.

The Indian economy has been in dire straits ever since the gross domestic product for the April-June quarter revealed a six-year low at 5%. The upcoming GDP numbers for July-September are unlikely to be any better, as per economy watchers.

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