The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the sale of government's stake in five central public sector enterprises (CPSEs), including state-owned Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).
The major decisions include a bill to grant ownership rights to residents of Delhi's unauthorised colonies, amendments to 'Toll Operate Transfer' model for national highways, a bill to replace ordinance on tax reduction and import of 1.2 lakh tonnes onion.
Approval for disinvestment of 5 CPSEs including BPCL, SCI, Concor
The government on Wednesday approved the sale of government's stake in blue-chip oil firm BPCL, shipping firm SCI and Concor, as well as decided to cut shareholding in select public sector firms below 51 percent to boost revenue collections that have been hit by the slowing economy.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the sale of government's entire 53.29 per cent stake along with transfer of management control in the country's second-biggest state-owned refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) after removing Numaligarh refinery from its fold, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters in New Delhi.
It also approved the sale of the entire government holding of 63.75 percent in Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) and 30.9 percent stake in Container Corp of India (Concor). The government currently holds 54.80 percent in Concor.
Besides, the government will sell its entire holding in THDC India and North Eastern Electric Power Corp Ltd (NEEPCO) to state power generator NTPC Ltd, the minister said.
Bill to grant ownership rights to residents of Delhi's unauthorised colonies
The Union Cabinet approved a bill on Wednesday to provide a legal framework to grant ownership rights to people living in unauthorised colonies in Delhi, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
The decision to grant ownership rights was taken by the Cabinet recently, and on Wednesday it cleared the bill which is to be introduced during in the ongoing Winter session of Parliament.
The proposal is applicable to 1,797 identified unauthorised colonies spread over 175 square-km of the national capital inhabited by people from lower-income groups.
Amendments to 'Toll Operate Transfer' model for national highways
The CCEA has given its approval to the amendments proposed in the TOT model by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
Public-funded national highway (NH) projects that are operational and have toll revenue generation history of one year after the commercial operations date (COD) will be monetised through the TOT model, she said after the CCEA meeting.
The monetisation will be subject to the approval of the competent authority in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways/NHAI on a case to case basis, she added.
The corpus generated from proceeds of such project monetisation will be used by the government to meet its fund requirements regarding the future development and O&M (operations and maintenance) of highways in the country. The model would facilitate efficient toll realisation through the private sector.
Around 75 operational NH projects have been identified for potential monetisation using the TOT model and bundled into 10 separate bids to attract economics of scale for the private sector.
Bill to replace ordinance on tax reduction
The Union Cabinet approved a bill to replace an ordinance promulgated to reduce corporate tax to 22 percent to boost the economy. The bill is likely to be introduced in Parliament during the ongoing Winter Session, sources said.
On September 20, Sitharaman said the revenue foregone on reduction in corporate tax and other relief measures would be Rs 1.45 lakh crore annually. Following the decision, the corporate tax rate has come down to 22 percent for domestic companies if they do not avail any incentive or concession.
Also, companies opting for 22 percent income tax slab would not have to pay minimum alternative tax (MAT). The tax rate has been reduced to 15 percent for new domestic manufacturing companies incorporated after October 1.
The government had also announced not to levy enhanced surcharge introduced in the Budget on capital gains arising from the sale of equity shares in a company liable for securities transaction tax (STT).
Besides, the government had decided that listed companies which have announced a buyback of shares prior to July 5 will not be charged with super-rich tax.
Import of 1.2 lakh tonnes onion
The Cabinet gave its approval to the Food Ministry's recent decision to import 1.2 lakh tonnes of onions in a bid to improve the domestic availability of the key kitchen staple and check prices.
On November 16, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had announced that the government will import 1,00,000 tonnes of onions through state-run MMTC, which has already floated a tender for buying 4,000 tonnes of the commodity from the global market. The government is also facilitating private imports and also relaxed phytosanitary and fumigation norms until December.
Cabinet approves Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2019
The Union Cabinet gave its nod for the introduction of the Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2019 in the Parliament.
The Code seeks to impart flexibility to the exit provisions (relating to retrenchment etc.), for which, the threshold for prior approval of appropriate government has been kept unchanged at 100 employees, but a provision for changing 'such number of employees' through a notification has been added, an official statement said.
Finance Minister said all workers on fixed-term will be treated at par with regular workers as far as benefits are concerned. The Code seeks to set up a two-member tribunal (in place of one member), introducing a concept that some of the important cases will be adjudicated jointly and the rest by a single member, resulting in speedier disposal of cases, the statement said.
(With inputs from PTI)