Advance action on bank privatisation underway: DFS secretary

Advance action is underway for privatisation of two public sector banks in pursuance of the announcement made by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Department of Financial Services secretary Sanjay Malhotra said on Monday.

In the Union Budget for 2021-22, the government announced its intent to take up the privatisation of two PSBs (Public Sector Banks) in the year and approved a policy of strategic disinvestment of public sector enterprises.

“In so far as banking privatisation is concerned, there is already a statement on the floor of the house by the finance minister for making enabling provision. Advance action on this is underway,” he said during the curtain raiser event ‘Iconic Week of the Finance Ministry’ to be held between June 6 and 12.

In the Union Budget for the financial year 2021-22, the government had announced its intent to take up privatisation of two PSBs in the year and approval of a policy of strategic disinvestment of public sector enterprises, Sitharaman had said in Parliament.

Government think-tank NITI Aayog has already suggested two banks and one insurance company to the core group of secretaries on disinvestment for privatisation. According to sources, Central Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank are likely candidates for privatisation.

As per the process, the core group of secretaries, headed by the Cabinet secretary, will send its recommendation to Alternative Mechanism (AM) for its approval and eventually to the Cabinet headed by the prime minister for the final nod.

The members of the core group of secretaries include economic affairs secretary, revenue secretary, expenditure secretary, corporate affairs secretary, legal affairs secretary, Department of Public Enterprises secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) secretary and an administrative department secretary.

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