New Delhi: The central government is aiming to wrap up sales of state-run carrier Air India along with oil refiner company Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) by March 2020, confirmed Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday in an interview with The Times of India.

Sitharaman said that the sale has been strategically decided upon after being aborted a year ago due to lukewarm responses. Many investors have shown interest to purchase the two loss-making companies and it could help meet the government’s disinvestment target of Rs 1 lakh crore in the current fiscal year, she said in the TOI interview.

“We are moving on both with the expectation that we can complete them this year. The ground realities will play out,” Sitharaman stated while speaking to The Times of India.

Notably, the Finance Minister’s statement comes at a time when the state-run airlines Air India is facing a huge crunch under a debt of nearly Rs 58,000 crore. Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani had earlier given an open letter to all its employees and said that the disinvestment may aid the carrier’s sustainability.

Meanwhile, in the case of BPCL, the government had planned to sell off its entire 53.29 per cent stake in the oil company with a hope to mop up close to Rs 65,000 crore and overcome a major part of the sell-off target.

The Finance Minister said that the government has taken various measures to revive the nation from a worrisome economic slowdown and several sectors have been coming out of distress. Furthermore, in the TOI interview, Sitharaman said fresh investments are lined up by industry top shots some of which has already helped improve the balance sheet for the current fiscal year.

Nirmala Sitharaman also said that she expected the GST collections to improve with an improvement in certain sales and government’s efforts to plug leakages. She further told TOI that the recent Supreme Court verdict on Essar Steel has strengthened the constitutionality and legality of IBC law and it would significantly impact the government balance sheets in the upcoming quarter.