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All precautions being taken in disinvestment of PSU: Defence Ministry

Government on July 8 defended in Rajya Sabha its plan to disinvest 26 percent of its stake in public-sector BEML and asserted that all precautions are being taken so that there are no question marks on national security.

The government has a shareholding of 54.03 percent in the PSU Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) which is involved in defence, rail and mining sectors.

Allaying fears expressed by members during the Question Hour, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said all aspects of strategic sale are taken into account before disinvesting in a PSU company.He said it has been the policy of all governments as well as recommendation of the NITI Aayog on strategic sale of assets in public sector undertakings.

“If strategic disinvestment is being done, all precautions are being taken so that there is no question mark on our national security. We are taking all precautions and national security is foremost for our government,” the minister told Rajya Sabha.

He said BEML has businesses in several segments and the defence segment has only 16.16 percent, while its rail and network business comprises 31.12 percent of its total business and mining and construction is 52.27 percent.

“It is not that defence work is being done in 100 percent of the total work done by the company,” he said, adding that a committee decides on the disinvestment.

The Government has not deferred the privatisation of BEML, the minister said in written reply to a query.

“The Government had given ‘in-principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment of BEML Ltd. to the extent of 26 pc out of the Government shareholding of 54.03 percent with transfer of management control to strategic buyer,” Singh said.