Manmohan Singh meets PSU heads to address expansion roadblocks.
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Public Enterprises Minister Praful Patel and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia were also present at the meeting.
Speaking after the meeting, Patel said the government would look into the public sector companies' grievances and address them, in order to put them on an even footing with the private sector.
"They (CPSEs) have issues, especially in terms of their autonomy and their ability to be investing in India and also into global assets internationally. The Prime Minister and all of us have understood their issues and we will work with them even more closely so that they are able to overcome these difficulties.
Like their counterparts in the private sector, these public enterprises should also be able to take quick decisions. They should be nimble-footed and they should have aggressive plans for their growth," Patel said.
Patel said the companies have been instructed to either use surplus funds for their own expansion, or to route it back to the government.
"The Finance Minister was very categorical, and I do fully endorse that, that either you use that money for your growth and development in a time-bound manner, or rather than just sitting on that money, give it to the government by way of a special dividend," he said.
The meeting with public sector industry comes close on the heels of big-ticket reforms by a federal government keen to put India back on a robust growth path.
After years of policy inertia that hit investments, slowed economic growth to a near three-year low and put India's investment-grade credit rating in peril, the Congress-led ruling coalition is on a reform overdrive.
In the last few weeks, the government has increased the price of heavily subsidised diesel, opened up the retail sector to global supermarket chains, allowed foreign airlines to buy stakes in local carriers and proposed raising the bar on foreign direct investment in insurance firms. ( ANI )
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