New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday approved the strategic disinvestment of state-run oil firm Bharat Petroleum Company Ltd (BPCL), as part of the dissolution of government stake in five blue-chip Public Sector Units (PSUs).

Addressing a cabinet briefing, Sithraman said, “Cabinet has approved strategic disinvestment of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, of Govt of India shareholding of 53.29% along with transfer of certain management control. This is excluding BPCL’s equity shareholding of 61% stake in Numaligarh Refinery.”

The Finance Minister further stated that the disinvestment excludes Numaligarh Refinery in Assam, which will be carved out before the privatisation of BPCL. Numaligarh Refinery will subsequently be handed over to a different public sector company.

On the other hand, the Cabinet has approved reducing the government’s stake in select PSUs such as Indian Oil Corp (IOC) to below 51 per cent while continuing to retain management control.

Apart from the oil company, the Union Cabinet has also given a nod for the strategic disinvestment, along with management control, in the Container Corporation of India (Concor), Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), and auction its entire stake in the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Ltd (THDCIL) and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (NEEPCO) to the government-owned NTPC Ltd, said Sitharaman.

It also approved sale of 53.75 per cent out of the government holding of 63.75 per cent stake in Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) and 30.9 per cent stake in Container Corp of India (Concor). The government currently holds 54.80 per cent in Concor.

Meanwhile, Sitharaman also announced the Modi cabinet’s decision on a moratorium of two years for spectrum payments, giving a sigh of relief to the telecom companies. With the announcement, the cabinet has deferred payments for 2020-21 and 2021-22 will give Rs. 42,000 crore respite to Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio.