"It is a time of uncertainty and fear for millions of Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) employees. I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all those employees to protest against this loot," said Rahul Gandhi, who was till recently the prime ministerial candidate for the country’s main opposition party Congress.
The remarks came in the backdrop of the Indian government’s partial privatisation of five major Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) where it is proposing to bring its equity holding below 51 percent. The five are the Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), Concor, the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), and THDC.
The money gained from the sale of these five alone is believed likely to be equivalent to around 60 percent of the total amount budgeted from all of the stake sales in PSUs. But the slow pace at which the disinvestment process is taking place is an issue for the government and it is currently seeking to speed up the stake sales.
The government's policies have drawn scathing criticism from the Central Trade Unions, which claim that the move will lead to massive unemployment. The trade unions also have the support of opposition parties.
The Indian Finance Ministry said in September that the government will “sell whatever is saleable”, according to the Business Standard.
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting her annual budget, said that the government’s focus for the next few years will be the disinvestment of the PSUs.