RINL IPO to kickstart PSU disinvestment process this month

The Rs2,500-crore IPO of the state-run Rashtriya Ispat Nigam or RINL has been deferred twice since the filing of the draft documents with SEBI

New Delhi: Indian government on Monday said it will kickstart its ambitious Rs30,000 crore disinvestment programme with stake sale in Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), this month, reports PTI.


"We have lined up all the cases for the next six months. The first case (RINL) is coming up sometime this month," Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters at the Economic Editors' Conference.


The Rs2,500-crore initial public offering (IPO) of the state-run RINL has been deferred twice since the filing of the draft documents with the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 18th May.


An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) is likely to meet on Tuesday to decide on the date and pricing of the IPO, a source said.


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in January had approved disinvestment of 10% of the government's 100% stake in the firm.


An official source said that government has identified four more PSUs -- NMDC, NTPC, Power Grid Corporation (PGCIL) and Engineers India (EIL) -- for divesting its minority stake.


"We have floated a paper for inter-ministerial consultation for disinvestment of NMDC, NTPC, EIL and PGCIL and the proposals would soon come up before the Cabinet," the source said.


The Department of Disinvestment (DoD), the nodal point for conducting PSU stake sale, has already got Cabinet approval for stake sale in seven companies, including RINL, Hindustan Copper, Oil India, MMTC, NALCO.


The government plans to raise Rs30,000 crore through disinvestments in 2012-13.


On the budgeted target for disinvestment, Chidambaram said, "I will be quite happy if I can meet the target and complete the timetable (for disinvestment) as laid down.


Because if we do it in the five-and-a-half months that's indeed fast-tracking".


Chidambaram said reforms are required in coal, mining, power, petroleum and natural gas, as well as infrastructure sectors to help create jobs


"There should also be no controversy over reforms in the coal, mining, power, petroleum & natural gas, and infrastructure sectors including roads, railway and shipping.


It is these sectors that are the drivers of growth," he said.


Chidambaram said the first comprehensive Cabinet paper on allowing FDI in retail was prepared by the NDA Government in 2002, in which it acknowledged that FDI in retail was essential to improve the supply chain in agriculture which alone will bring benefits to both producers and consumers.


"That paper also endorsed the argument that FDI in retail will generate millions of jobs. The idea was never rejected.


So, why should there be a controversy when the Government announced its intention to lay down guidelines in order to enable FDI in retail," he questioned.


The Indian government had last month had allowed 51% FDI in multi-brand retail.


Saying that the implementation of FDI is left to the discretion of the states, Chidambaram said, "The controversy over FDI in retail is, in my view, unnecessary and unjustified".


Absence of reforms will slow growth: Chidambaram

Without reforms, India risk a sharp and continuing slowdown of the economy which it cannot afford given the imperative need to generate jobs and incomes for a large population, most of whom are young, says the Finance Minister

New Delhi: Cautioning that absence of economic reforms will slow down growth, Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said political parties may oppose but should not obstruct decision making, reports PTI.


"Every government is entitled to lay down policies. Opposition to policies is legitimate, obstructionism is not," Chidambaram said while addressing the annual Economic Editors' Conference.


"The government of the day must be allowed to lay down policies, pass legislations wherever necessary, and get on with the job of implementing those policies," he added.


Noting that these were challenging times, the Minister said, "Without reforms, we risk a sharp and continuing slowdown of the economy which we cannot afford given the imperative need to generate jobs and incomes for a large population, most of whom are young."


India's economic growth during 2011-12 slipped to nine- year low of 6.5% and during the first quarter of the current fiscal it was 5.5%.


Expressing confidence that with requisite savings and investments India's economic growth rate will recover to 8% and more, and perhaps touch 9%, the Minister said, "We should keep that rate of growth as our objective and progress towards achieving that objective."


Indian government recently took host of reform initiatives but steps like hiking foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in insurance and pension to 49% would require legislative changes, which would not be possible without the support of main opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).


"Long standing structural reforms required to achieve high investment and high growth rates have been held back because of many reasons.


"Among them are...the need to forge a consensus on reforms, the practical necessity to garner support across the political spectrum to pass legislation... Nevertheless we are now addressing the difficult areas of reforms", he added.


Referring to the government decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, Chidambaram said, "We must not fear foreign investments in India. We have the sovereign right to decide where and how foreign investments would be allowed into India."


The decisions to allow foreign investment should not be tested on the basis of undefined ideology or theory, but on a clear-headed assessment of the advantages that would accrue to India, he said.


"I have no doubt...FDI in retail, aviation and FM radio broadcasting are decisions that will benefit the economy and the country," he added.


Chidambaram also underlined the need for containing inflation and said that appreciating value of the rupee would help in brining down the cost of imported crude, petroleum products and fertilisers.


"The value of rupee is an important factor that effects the value of imports. A depreciating rupee will also impact trade and investment. Hence, the need to stabilise the exchange rate. I believe that we have met with moderate success," the Minister said.


The rupee, which touched 57.22 to a dollar on 27 June 2012, has gradually appreciated to 52.13.


The other important task before the government was to contain fiscal deficit, he said, adding, "no one will have confidence in the Indian economy if there is uncertainty about the fiscal stability of the country".


As regards the Kelkar Committee on fiscal consolidation, the Minister said that it has presented the worst-case scenario and it was the duty of the government to take steps to avoid that and "do every thing possible to contain deficits".


The government, Chidambaram added, will shortly announce a fiscal consolidation programme based on the feedback on the Kelkar Committee report.


Disclose grading of confidential reports during promotion: CIC

Relative grading of the ACRs no longer remains personal information and should be disclosed as it forms the very basis for the promotion of an individual officer, ruled the CIC under the RTI Act

New Delhi: The relative grading of officers' annual confidential reports (ACRs) during their promotion is not personal information and should be made public, the Central Information Commission has held, reports PTT.


Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said although the annual confidential reports or ACRs of an officer are personal information which should be disclosed only to him or her, its relative grading during promotion process should be made public.


"Since the relative grading of the ACRs is the basis for recommending a certain officer for promotion, this needs to be disclosed just as the caste certificate of a public servant needs to be disclosed since that serves as the basis for his appointment to the government service," Mishra said.


The case relates to an RTI application filed by Madhu Khare of Bhopal who sought to know from the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) the grading chart of select list of 2001-02 for promotion from Madhya Pradesh Administrative Service to Indian Administrative Services (IAS).


The UPSC objected to disclosure of the chart claiming that it contained the grading based on the ACRs and to that extent, the disclosure of this information would amount to the disclosure of personal information of other officers.


"In the present case, the appellant had not sought the copies of the ACRs. She has only wanted to know the manner in which the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) evaluated and assessed the individual ACRs of the officers and arrived at the grading in each case," Mishra said.


He said mere disclosure of the final relative grading will not help.


"Without the entire chart showing the complete assessment of every officer, it will not be clear how the officers have been assessed in a related matrix," he said.


Mishra said it is without doubt that the relative grading of the ACRs is an important input in the final decision of the DPC in recommending some officers for promotion while leaving out others.


"As held by us in several similar cases in the past, in any examination or evaluation process, certain details about the successful or recommended candidates must be disclosed in order to ensure transparency in the selection process," the CIC said.


He said therefor the relative grading of the ACRs "no longer remains personal information" and should be disclosed as it forms the very basis for the promotion of an individual officer.


"In the light of the above, we are of the view that the desired information, namely, the complete chart of the grading of the ACRs of the officers as assessed and evaluated by the DPC and recommended for promotion must be disclosed," the Chief Information Commissioner said.


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