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Cabinet empowers Board of PSEs to divest subsidiaries

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Guwahati: The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, has approved the proposal for empowering the Board of Directors of the Holding/Parent Public Sector Enterprises to recommend and undertake the process for disinvestment (both strategic disinvestment and minority stake sale) or closure of any of their subsidiaries/units/stake in JVs.

The Cabinet has also empowered Alternative Mechanism to accord ‘in principle’ approval for the disinvestment (both strategic disinvestment and minority take sale) / closure of subsidiaries/units/sale of stakes in JVs of Holding / Parent PSEs [except the disinvestment (minority stake sale) of Maharatna PSEs which was delegated to them and review the process of disinvestment/closure by parent/holding Holding PSEs.

Presently, the Board of Directors of Holding/Parent PSEs has been delegated certain powers under the Maharatna, Navratna, and Miniratna categories to make equity investments to establish financial joint ventures and wholly-owned subsidiaries and undertake mergers/acquisitions subject to certain ceilings of net worth.

However, the boards do not have powers for disinvestment/closure of their subsidiaries/units/stake in JVs, except for some limited powers given to Maharatna PSEs for minority stake disinvestment of shareholding in their subsidiaries.

Therefore, approval of the Cabinet/CCEA was needed by holding/parent CPSEs for disinvestment (both strategic disinvestment and minority stake sale)/closure of their subsidiaries/units or sale of their stakes in a JV, irrespective of the size of operations/capital deployed of such subsidiaries, etc. In line with the spirit of the new PSE policy, 2021 to minimize the presence of government PSEs and for functional requirements, further delegation in this matter has been provided through this decision.

The proposal intends to reform the functioning of PSEs, by allowing greater autonomy to the Board of Directors of the Holding PSEs for taking decisions and recommending the timely existence of their investment in subsidiaries, units, or JVs, which will enable them to monetize their investment in such subsidiaries/units, or JVs at an opportune time or close their loss-making and inefficient subsidiary, unit, or JV at the right time.

Official sources said this will result in expeditious decision making and saving of wasteful operational/financial expenditure by the PSEs”

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