January 21, 2022

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Pointing to ‘fundamental issues’ in deal, CPM RS MP tells govt to reconsider privatisation of CEL

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Pointing to ‘fundamental issues’ in deal, CPM RS MP tells govt to reconsider privatisation of CEL
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Pointing to ‘fundamental issues’ in deal, CPM RS MP tells govt to reconsider privatisation of CEL
Pointing to ‘fundamental issues’ in deal, CPM RS MP tells govt to reconsider privatisation of CEL

NEW DELHI: CPM Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas has written to Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Jitendra Singh asking them to reconsider the proposed sale of public sector company Central Electronics Limited (CEL) to a private entity at “throwaway prices” on grounds that there are “fundamental issues” staring at the deal.
In his January 13 letter to the ministers, Brittas argued that CEL was nurtured by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratories and is now being sold for a paltry sum of Rs 210 Crores to a private financial intermediary with no managerial or technological knowledge of work CEL does.
“The sale of CEL implies underselling a highly valuable asset base of the government for a paltry sum to a company that may change its role to the detriment of the national interest. The tall claims to consider the sale as a source of non-inflationary fiscal resource for the budget is fallacious, since such an argument is patently invalid,” Brittas said, adding that there were more “benign and effective ways” to raise additional fiscal resources rather than selling a profit-making strategic public enterprise.
Referring to concerns of the scientific community that the sale of CEL will ultimately “destroy and dismantle” the company, the CPM MP added that the government has itself acknowledged CEL’s strategic role in nation building both in Lok Sabha and as mentioned by a report of the parliamentary standing committee on science and technology.
“Since the private entities buying the public assets would be raising most of the needed resources from the public sector banks, the decision to mobilize resources through the privatization of public assets is a flawed policy option for the Nation,” Brittas said, pointing also to allegations that 99.96% of the private company’s equity is held by a furniture company.
“If this be true, we cannot dismiss the allegations that the government is proposing to sell a strategic PSU, having ramifications in the defence sector also, indirectly to a furniture company,” he added.

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