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Balance sheet reforms

May 05, 2013

 Abstract: In the context of transferring ownership of assets from the public to private sector, the key question is if the government received a good “value” for them? Recent controversy around transfer of 2G spectrum and coal concessions point to the need to set up a robust transfer mechanism. This needs to:

  • Be cooperative and accommodate diverse views regarding a specific transfer;
  • Articulate a plan for the objectives of the proposed transfers including their anticipated social benefits; and
  • Take a long-term view of the revenues from the transfer. Realizations from the transfers should not be deployed to meet current commitments.

The Disinvestment Commission of the mid-1990s and the National Investment Commission proposal of 2004 both amounted to nothing. But, given that transfers of government owned assets are only likely to multiply in future, now is the time to push for such a mechanism to be put in place.

Keywords: public to private transfer; value; transfer mechanism

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