Coal India board to discuss tomorrow special dividend to govt

State-owned Coal India Ltd has called a board meeting tomorrow to consider giving special


dividend to the government.

"Coal India board will meet on December 16 to discuss the option of special dividend," a source privy to the development said.

The development follows Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking ministries of Coal and Heavy Industries to explore options like share buyback and special dividend to meet the Budget estimate.

Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel had met the Prime Minister to iron out differences over disinvestment of Coal India Ltd (CIL) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL).

"BHEL and Coal India have been asked to come back with various options. These options are buyback, dividend payments, disinvestment," Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who also attended the meeting, had said.

When asked whether the option of share buyback was also being explored in CIL board meeting, the source said: "Not really, it requires the full board."

Chidambaram had been emphasising that the government would not allow the fiscal deficit to exceed 4.8% of the GDP in the current financial year.

The government has budgeted to raise Rs 40,000 crore from minority stake sale in PSUs in the current fiscal. With eight months of the fiscal already over, it has managed to garner only over Rs 1,325 crore through stake sale in six PSUs.

The stake sale of Coal India Ltd (CIL) has been hanging fire for long due to opposition from trade unions.

The government had originally planned to divest 10% in CIL, but after stiff opposition from unions, it lowered it to 5%.

The government currently holds 90% stake in CIL.

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