Government’s proceeds from asset sales were only ₹33,443 crore in the first seven months against the target of ₹1.6 lakh crore under the National Monetisation Pipeline for the fiscal year ending March. The Centre now expects its revenue from asset sales to miss the budget estimate and come in at ₹1.24 lakh crore, according to people in the know.
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“There are a number of ministries that have not been able to achieve the target … they have been asked to identify additional or alternative assets to speed up the process,” said a person familiar with the deliberations on the issue.
To push ministries to meet targets, their budgetary allocation in future may be linked to the performance on the asset monetisation front, the person said. A set of guiding principles could also be issued to the ministries and departments to help them in the process. The latest moves come after some ministries dropped already identified assets in the middle of the financial year or pushed the process on some others to the next financial year. These ministries include telecom, railway and petroleum.
Key Proposals Shelved
According to a government official, the Department of Telecommunications has been asked to identify alternative or additional assets to substitute the BharatNet public-private partnership (PPP) project that has been dropped from the asset monetisation pipeline.
Among other assets identified under the ministry, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s tower monetisation bid is expected to be launched in the current financial year, but the proceeds will be available only next year. Against the target of Rs 20,180 crore from the telecom sector, currently the sale of assets worth just Rs 4,700 crore is under process and no proceeds are expected by the end of the current fiscal year, this official said.
The railway ministry has been asked to look at new options after a number of stations that were proposed earlier to be given for redevelopment under the PPP model are now being offered under engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts, where there will be no lump sum proceeds.
Track-overhead equipment, goods sheds, hill rail and stadia were among the other assets considered for monetisation to achieve Indian Railways’ Rs 30,000 crore target in FY23.
“Stations, the largest asset class, have been dropped and now those that were earlier proposed on PPP mode are being taken up under the EPC mode,” an official said. Railway projects worth about Rs 3,170 crore are under process for monetisation and it should be able to end the year with Rs 4,999 crore against the target of Rs 30,000 crore, the official said.