India’s public sector asset sales to fall short of target by nearly 50%

New Delhi, India. Photo: Pixabay

India’s plan to sell $14.7 billion of government-owned assets to plug its budget deficit is seen falling short by nearly half, according to people familiar with the matter.

Receipts from disinvestment in the year to March are expected to be between 500 billion rupees ($7 billion) and 600 billion rupees against the target of 1.05 trillion rupees, the people said, asking not to be identified as the numbers are in the process of being finalized. The complex sale process for some of the assets means the government will run out of time this year, they said.

A spokesman for the Finance Ministry wasn’t immediately available for a comment.

The shortfall will add to the financial problems of the treasury, which is already grappling with lower-than-expected tax collections. The revenue crunch amid an economic slowdown is putting pressure on the budget, with a senior official seeing the fiscal deficit widening to 3.8% of gross domestic product in the current fiscal year against the 3.3% target.

The government will try to push through the sale of minority stakes, including through exchange-traded funds, to raise revenue, the people said.

India has achieved only about 17% of the disinvestment target so far this year, while tax collections are 46% of the budgeted aim in the eight months to November. The income shortfall in the current fiscal year would be 4 trillion rupees, ET Now television reported, citing government sources it didn’t identify.

In the absence of a steady revenue stream, authorities have withheld some payments to states and have capped ministries’ expenditure.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has refused to comment on the deficit goal before the official budget presentation scheduled for Feb. 1, when she will also present the revised revenue and expenditure statement.

Bloomberg

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
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