Budget 2018-19: Disinvestment targets likely to go up

RSTV Bureau

Finance minister Arun Jaitley will unveil the government’s disinvestment target for financial year 2019 in the union budget. Analysts expect the government will increase its asset-sale target substantially this year.

The Government is inching closer to its disinvestment target of Rs 72,500 crore in the current fiscal. Bolstered by the nod to disinvestment in the current financial year, the government may raise the sale-off target for the next financial year. The remarkable response to disinvestment demonstrates the belief of domestic and overseas investors in the growth story of India and reforms being undertaken by the union government, across various sectors.

Experts feel the Government may raise the sale-off target by 40 per cent to Rs 1 lakh crore in the upcoming budget.

The government has already cut additional borrowing target from Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore for this fiscal indicating an improvement in government finances. This has calmed some of the fiscal worries too.

Economists, however, favour aggressive disinvestment to achieve a fiscal deficit target of 3.2% of the GDP.

Of the total disinvestment of Rs 72,500 crore that was budgeted for the current fiscal, Rs 54,337.60 crore or 74.94% was achieved till January 11. The government is eyeing to end this fiscal with record disinvestment receipts of over Rs 90,000 crore on the back of an expected HPCL-ONGC deal.

It is likely to be finalised by March and may raise over Rs 30,000 for the government. Last fiscal, the divestment goal was underachieved by Rs 14,253.42 crore or 25.22% with revenues coming in at Rs 42,246.58 crore against the targeted Rs 56,500 crore.

Robust bids for assets are expected in the next fiscal as well.