Listing of Rail PSUs will result in more funds: Neeraj Gupta, Disinvestment Secretary

In an interview with media, India’s Disinvestment Secretary Neeraj Gupta said that the Ministry will work to achieve FY18 divestment target.
Disinvestment Secretary Neeraj Gupta

Neeraj: The targets are challenging but they are to be achieved and it will be best endeavour of the department to achieve them.

Q: In fact this year we saw almost around 31-32 thousand crore already coming in and now we have two more months but let me focus on listing of PSUs on exchanges, something that has been talked about by the finance minister in his budget speech and he is also saying that we look at listing of companies like IRCON, IRFC, all rail companies. How soon could we see that? Has the government at least after this budget will start moving on it and have the deliberation start been made?

Neeraj: See listing of the companies is very essential for unlocking the real value of these companies and without listing they will not have the access to the capital market. So all these railway companies which are more indicative and not exhaustive they really suggest that if they want to expand the operations and expand say railway infrastructure, they should access to the market and for that listing is one of the steps.

Q: Let me focus on CPSE ETF. We have just concluded an FFO of CPSE ETF and that got a stellar response from the market. Are there plans for more in the future?

Neeraj: CPSE ETF had been really very-very popular. FFO had been very popular, nearly 40% has been taken away by the retail itself which is unprecedented response. This product is generally very popular internationally but in India the ETF AUM is only 35,000 crore, say in US it is $3.5 trillion. So you can imagine how ETF can become popular. This gives you the advantage of both mutual fund and equity and stability of return, less risk. So definitely while devising instruments of divestments, we have been given a direction to create one more CPSE ETF which will definitely be launched.

Q: And how soon could we see that?

Neeraj: I am sure it will be very soon.

Q: Last year we saw that while the government has made the right moves in terms of strategic divestment, we have not really seen anything concrete getting finalised in getting done away with. What is going to be the roadmap and strategy from here on?

Neeraj: Due diligence on all those decisions is being done. Let me share with you the process is in time on track and definitely when the process is complete, we have to do the transaction. What you are referring is a transaction, so this is a process which has to be done very meticulously and most transparently.

Q: Have you seen responses that has come in for these CPSEs from markets and…?

Neeraj: We have not reached that stage to explore the market.

Q: If you could shed little more light on ITDC because a lot work has been done on ITDC but how soon could we see the ITDC stake sale really concluding, at the hotels transfer of assets that have to be done to various states and…?

Neeraj: Department of tourism is really ringed the process and making systematic progress on that. I am sure the process is also moving forward and we are in the process of deciding on 11 properties.