India to sell immovable Enemy Properties this fiscal to mop up revenues

NEW DELHI: The government of India will sell the immovable properties like land and buildings of the Enemy this fiscal to augment the divestment revenues and will also get its share from the proceeds of the non-core asset sales of the CPSEs, a top official said.

“We got Rs 1,800 crore from the sale of ‘Enemy Property’ last fiscal and now we are looking at selling land and buildings of ‘such properties. We will look at those properties which have clear title paper and the transactions involves its custodians with DIPAM being provided all relevant documents together with information on encumbrances or encroachments,” Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, DIPAM told IANS in an interview.

The government has increased disinvestment target for FY20 from earlier Rs 90,000 crore to Rs 1,05,000 crore. It is thus looking at all possible ways of of mobilising disinvestment proceeds.

Asked if DIPAM has set any target for the sell-off proceeds of immovable Enemy Property, Chakraborty said: “We don’t intercede such targets. All these processes are very time consuming involving legal issues, contracts, agreements and titles all these have to be worked out. Even transactions small or big one like Air India, the spade work is huge.”

The ‘Aliens’ or Enemies are not the citizens of India. These are the people who at the time of partition or later went to Pakistan or Bangladesh or anywhere and left properties behind. Their properties are with the Custodian of Enemy Property.

As DIPAM is currently undertaking the exercise of selling of identified non-core assets of the CPSEs, there is an issue of who will get the proceeds of such sales? Whether its DIPAM or the CPSE whose assets are being sold off.

“Its a complex process.. but however that proceeds would be treated as proceeds from strategic divestment. It will go on case to case basis on what would be the principles of sharing. But since it is non-core asset to the concerned CPSE with no credible financial use, it will go on case to case basis on what would be the platform for principles for sharing. But since that’s an asset which doesn’t have a very credible financially viable use for the CPSE, obviously the promoter — government does deserve a share. It will be on case-by-case on who DIPAM or the concerned CPSE gets the lion’s share,” the Secretary said.

If the CPSE wants to sell some of its core assets like its loss making power plants, they can go ahead to it on their own. But if they want securitise some part of their core assets, there DIPAM can have a role.

He said hiving off entire core assets is not DIPAM’s domain. Airlines industry does it because there, the sale and lease-back kind of arrangement. It’s part of the regular operations which companies do. If in a petroleum company, certain pipelines are leased out, it’s a limited case. If everyone started selling out their core assets, they shouldn’t be involved in business, the Secretary said.

In case of CPSEs hiving off non-core assets and then DIPAM selling off them, Chakrabortty said first the ownership has to change.

Source: Press Trust of India

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