Hyderabad: Minister of state for finance Anurag Thakur on Saturday strongly defended the disinvestment proposal of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) which owns the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP). Disinvestment was in the interests of the company and the employees, he said.
Speaking to the media here at the BJP office, Thakur termed the ongoing agitations in Andhra Pradesh against disinvestment in VSP as “politically motivated” and “artificial”.
Thakur said the Centre will decide on divesting stakes of public sector enterprises from time to time, based on the recommendation of Niti Aayog.
“Opposition parties and a few vested interests are trying to inflame regional emotions in AP under the guise of opposing RINL disinvestment. These politically motivated and artificial agitations will not last long,” the minister said.
“We will hold consultations with all RINL stakeholders before disinvestment which is being done in the interests of the company as well as the employees. We are confident of convicing all RINL stakeholders as several PSUs that were divested earlier have grown faster,” Thakur said.
Replying to questions on the state of the economy, Thakur said the rising GST collections indicate that the economy is in recovery mode as the Centre has taken the right steps to save lives and the economy during the pandemic, he said.
The minister said India had received the highest foreign direct investment even during the Covid-19 times due to decisive leadership. “India is standing back on its feet. The economy is witnessing a V-shaped recovery and that is why in the last four months we have seen GST collection of more than Rs 1 lakh crore per month,” he said. In January, the total collection was close to Rs 1.2 lakh crore.
“India has forex reserves of more than $590 billion, which is the highest ever. It went up by $119 billion from the previous year. The external debt is $554 billion, making the country a ‘net creditor’,” Thakur said.
On the recent Union Budget, Thakur said that except the Opposition parties, all sections of people had appreciated it. Thakur said the Budget estimates for the current fiscal was Rs 30.42 lakh crore, which was increased by over Rs 4 lakh crore to Rs 34.50 lakh crore for the next fiscal.
He hoped that India would become a $5 trillion economy in the next four or five years. Describing the Budget as “transparent,” the minister explained its salient features.