The government seems determined to make a paradigm shift in its approach to the CPSEs. This is best reflected in its renaming of the Department of Disinvestment as Department of Investment & Public Asset Management (DIPAM). The new name may shortly be notified as it has already been announced in the budget. People in power corridors insist that this is not a mere change in name; indeed it reflects a change in the philosophy of Government’s approach to CPSEs.
The new department may look far beyond the sale in equity: it will focus, as the new name suggests, on investment promotion and asset management of CPSEs. It is estimated that all 234 Public Sector Enterprises have a cumulative cash balance of Rs two lakh crores which are lying unused in the banks whereas governments keep planning the divestment of assets/stakes/shares worth few hundred and thousand crores. The DIPAM may focus on leveraging these assets for rejuvenating CPSEs through a slew of majors involving modernization and expansion. This would help generate jobs and add to the targeted GDP growth of 7-7.5 percent aimed for FY17.
The renaming is actually an instrument of the NaMo administration to change the mindset about governance· It began with the renaming of the Planning Commission as NITI Aayog and redefining of its role. Similarly Ministry of Environment & Forest was added with the suffix MOEF & CC (Climate Change).
Several parliamentary committees in the past have blamed Govts for not making adequate investments and for having been focused unfruitfully on disinvestment. The government hopes that the renaming of the Dept of Disinvestment would change the mindset of the officials concerned and prompt and encourage them to ensure investment into expansion and modernization of CPSEs, thus putting to rest the concerns of parliamentarians on the issue of growth in public sector.