Congress said on Tuesday it would not authorize the reckless sale of public sector banks (PSBs). The party has alleged that the Modi government is now ready to withdraw completely from public sector banks, which is an “ill-thought-out strategy with dangerous repercussions”.
Addressing a press conference, Congress Spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said: “Congress will oppose this reckless sale of strategic assets for profit, including the complete exit of banks from the public sector. that are sold. We will tell them to sell these assets that have been built in 8 years.”
The party said the banks were nationalized in 1969, which not only broke the monopoly of a few private lenders, but ensured that the bank reached the last mile. Public banks give priority loans to sectors like agriculture and small industries that private banks avoid.
They contributed to the development of backward regions and opened branches in remote parts of the country where no private bank would venture. PSOs are not just financial institutions, they are actually agents of social empowerment.
“But this sell-off of strategic and lucrative assets built over the past 75 years raises serious questions. What is the explanation for LIC’s disastrous IPO with losses of over $18 billion, or almost a third of its valuation,” Shrinate said.
The party pointed out that the Modi government was forced to stop its privatization spree in the last two months alone. The BPCL sale was canceled after 2 out of 3 investors withdrew, discouraged by faulty fuel pricing policies and various uncertainties. The sale of Pawan Hans Ltd is now on hold after it sold 51% of the stake to a company that failed to honor a previous bid for an insolvent company, and the NCLT Kolkata ruled against it. PHL plays a strategic role in offshore oil rigs, business operations in border areas.
Central Electronics Ltd is a supply unit of the Department of Science and Technology supplying critical materials and services for strategic sectors such as defence, railways and energy. It was badly undervalued and 100% of the shares were sold to an unscientific financial firm which had links to BJP politicians – now on hold after the two bidders were found to be related parties, said the Congress.
The sale of Container Corporation of India (Concor), a unit of Indian Railways, has been put on hold due to accusations from the Congress Party over how the government was using a backdoor arrangement to hand over railway land acquired from the farmers at a preferential rate or free of charge to a private party for commercial use.
Shrinate alleged that the privatization of three PSUs was delayed due to land valuation issues. CONCOR has land around railway stations, Shipping Corporation of India has land in Maharashtra, particularly in Mumbai) while Bharat Earth Movers has land in West Bengal and Karnataka.
“It is clear that the single objective is to hand over these companies and the thousands of hectares of land they hold to the few capitalist friends chosen by Mr. Modi,” she added.