Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sanjeev Sanyal welcomes Air India’s sale to Tatas, backs govt’s privatisation drive

New Delhi: Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Advisor to the Finance Ministry, said the privatisation of Air India was a “seminal moment” for the country and welcomed the government’s aggressive privatisation roadmap.

“This government has been quite unapologetic about privatisation. We have in fact removed the old euphemism disinvestment and used the word privatisation. We have also gone further and said we will monetise a lot of underused assets,” Sanyal said during a session at the 19th edition of the India Today Conclave.

He said privatisation of Air India is a big move and is visible to everyone. “The point here is it has to be demonstrated that big privatization can be done and it can be done cleanly and that it would be a popular move,” Sanjeev Sanyal added.

Sanjeev Sanyal strongly backed the government’s plan to privatise some assets and said, “Much of what we are attempting to privatise was actually built by the private sector. He gave the example of Air India, saying it was “simple taken away” from the private sector and nationalised. Sanyal also spoke about how many banks were nationalized in 1969.

“So, when people say that these institutions were built by the blood and sweat of Indian bureaucracy, let me point out to them that these were built by the private sector,” he added.

Sanjeev Sanyal also spoke about the government’s strong focus on asset monetisation and not just privatisation.

The point about asset monetisation is that there are large numbers of assets which have economic value and which the government owns, said Sanyal. He added that some of these assets can be monetised easily as the process involved is different from privatisation.

“Unlike privatisation which is a clear thing, monetization can be done in many shades of grey. Its privatization of an asset as opposed to a company,” he added.

After speaking at length about the government’s privatisation and asset monetisation plans, Sanyal shared his insights on economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I think the Indian economy is recovering quite strongly and all the high frequency data, whether its exports or many of the other indicators, suggest a very strong V-shaped recovery,” Sanyal said.

Sanyal went on to say that most of the “neutral” people will agree that the Indian economy survived the shock of the pandemic well, adding that the economy is clearly recovering. “I would be surprised if we do not hit double-digit growth this year,” Sanyal said. He shared a similar forecast for next year as well.

When asked about high fuel prices, Sanyal highlighted rising global crude oil rates, but acknowledged high taxes levied on petrol and diesel.

09/10/21 India Today

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