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Central PSUs racked up losses of more than Rs 1.5 lakh crore in last five years

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India’s Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) racked up losses totalling more than Rs 1.5 lakh crore in the last five years, according to data from the Ministry of Finance.

As per information provided by Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad on March 21 in response to a question in the Rajya Sabha, there were 248 CPSEs in operation at the end of 2021-22. As many as 72 were loss-making in 2017-18, Karad told the Parliament. This number eased slightly to 69 in 2018-19, before shooting up to 84 in 2019-20.

Since then, the number of loss-making CPSEs has reduced: first to 76 in 2020-21 and then to 59 in 2021-22.

In terms of the total losses made by these companies, last year saw a substantial reduction to Rs 14,586 crore, down from losses of Rs 44,239 crore in 2019-20.

Cumulatively, the five-year period stretching from 2017-18 to 2021-22 saw CPSEs in the red by as much as Rs 1.54 lakh crore, the data showed.

“Enterprise-specific measures for their turnaround are taken by the respective Boards and administrative Ministries/Departments having jurisdiction over the CPSEs concerned,” Karad told the Upper House of Parliament on March 21.

“These, inter alia, include business restructuring, formation of joint ventures, modernisation, and improved marketing strategies etc. The government has also notified the New Public Sector Enterprise (‘PSE’) Policy in February 2021 as per which CPSEs have been classified in
Strategic and Non Strategic sectors based on certain criteria. The CPSEs are, therefore, to be dealt with according to the provisions of the New PSE Policy only,” he added.

As per the new PSE policy announced in 2021, CPSEs will maintain a minimal presence in four strategic sectors—atomic energy, space, and defence; transport and telecommunications; power, petroleum, coal, and other minerals; and banking insurance and financial services. In other sectors, CPSEs will be privatised, merged, or considered for closure.

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