PSU stake sale only after considering national interest: Tomar

Narendra Singh Tomar, who is set to take charge as Steel and Mines Minister, today said a decision on diluting the government stake in steel PSUs will be taken only after considering the national interest.

"First, I have to understand things. Then we will talk about it," Tomar told PTI in reply to a question on diluting stake in steel PSUs such as SAIL and NMDC at his residence. He is yet to take charge of the ministry.

"I have no personal view. Any decision on this will be taken only after discussion. We will take the decision in the national interest," he added.

In a presentation for the Cabinet Secretary, the Steel Ministry has suggested that the new government should bring down stakes in steel PSUs to 51 per cent and utilise the proceeds for development.

Steel Authority of India (SAIL), Rashtriya Ispat Nigam (RINL), iron ore miner NMDC Ltd, manganese ore producer MOIL Ltd and pellet maker KIOCL Ltd are the major PSUs under the administrative control of the Steel Ministry.

Government has 80 per cent stake each in SAIL, NMDC and MOIL. RINL and KIOCL are yet to be listed. It can rake in big funds by pruning stakes down to 51 per cent in them.

Tomar, 56, said he will focus on collective and balanced development on the expectations of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Asked about his plan of action with the portfolios that also include Labour and Employment, Tomar said: "I will try to understand the departments first after taking over today and then create the road-map for the future and work accordingly."

After assuming charge, he wants to discuss with different departments for preparing the road-map, Tomar said.

To a question on scams in the mining sector, he said that whatever would be brought to his notice, he would do the needful.

Acknowledging that unemployment was a "major issue", he said that his party had recognised the fact and the government would "look into the issue and do the needful".

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