Kerala CM cautions Centre against PSU privatization

Pinarayi Vijayan says Kerala govt will turn state PSUs into profitable ventures

The Union government’s policy of privatising public sector undertakings (PSUs) has received a word of caution from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The state Chief Minister, while being critical of the Centre’s policy, reiterated that Kerala will not resort to any such measure.

Adding that Kerala would go by its policy of retaining the public sector enterprises, Pinarayi Vijayan said he would ensure that the state would undertake efforts towards turning state PSUs into profitable ventures.

The Kerala government has put forward an example of how to stand by the PSUs by taking over the Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited-Electrical Machines Limited (BHEL-EML) so that the company remained in the public sector.

Privatization off, Kerala takes over BHEL-EML

BHEL-EML, situated in Kasaragod district of northern Kerala will soon have more efforts towards a profitable future as per the policies of the state government. BHEL-Electrical Machines Ltd, Kasaragod, till recently, used to be a Central Public Sector Enterprise and subsidiary of BHEL, a Maharatna company.

Once the move towards privatisation gained speed, the Kerala government allowed BHEL to exit its joint venture with the state-run Electrical Machines Ltd. Besides, the Kerala government also made its stand clear that it would purchase the shares in view of the Centre’s decision to disinvest its shares in BHEL-EML. BHEL had 51 per cent stake in the PSU, while the state government had 49 per cent share in the joint venture.

BHEL-EML, till recently, used to be a Central PSU and subsidiary of BHEL.

Kerala to prepare masterplan for PSUs’ expansion and diversification

Pinarayi Vijayan also said that the state government would prepare a masterplan for each public sector undertaking so that they will be able to chart out expansion measures and also and diversify their activities. These measures are expected to help them turn profitable ventures in the near term.

The BHEL – EML takeover by the state government came as a follow up towards saving the company from the Centre’s privatisation plan. In a video posted on Facebook, the Kerala Chief Minister asserted that his government recognises the significance of a public sector undertaking, and the takeover of the BHEL-EML was a step towards this.

According to statistics, Kerala has pumped in a total of Rs 77 crore, including Rs 43 crore for the revival of BHEL-EML. The state is also lining up measures to breathe fresh life into the company by ushering in a slew of advanced facilities at the unit.

Apart from taking over the company, the Left Democratic Front government in Kerala has also decided to give away the salary arrears of employees who had been left with no earnings over the past couple of years. The government has earmarked Rs 14 crore towards the salary arrears.

The state government will stand against the privatisation of PSUs, and would strengthen its policy towards expansion and diversification of such institutions, so as to create profit-making ventures out of these units. The government plans to generate master plans for each PSU in the state.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »
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