Modi govt puts profit making SCI on sale; Anil Agarwal led Vedanta in race for buying the shipping Navratna

Rationale behind SCI’s privatisation is being questioned as it earned profit of over Rs 300 crore in first quarter of FY 21 and its operational value also increased to Rs 1143 crore from Rs 918 crore

 Modi govt puts profit making SCI on sale; Anil Agarwal led Vedanta in race for buying the shipping Navratna
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Vishwadeepak

Almost a month after the Modi government set a target of generating revenue worth Rs 1.75 lakh crore through disinvestment of public sector companies, it has come to the fore that Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Resources Ltd has submitted expression of interest (EoI) for buying 63.75 per cent stake in the profit-making public sector company Shipping Corporation of India (SCI).

Sources privy to the development told National Herald that apart from Vedanta Resources Ltd, a US based company has also submitted EoI for buying the government’s stake in the public sector company which was conferred the ‘Navratna’ status by the government in 2008.

Founded in 1961, the SCI generated revenue worth Rs 4,425.44 crore in 2020 and has been in profit for the last many years, said an employee aware of the development.

According to the insider, the largest shipping company of India, which comes under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, earns a profit of over Rs 300 crore per annum for the government.

Manoj Yadav, general secretary of Forward Seamen’s Union of India told National Herald that the SCI, which is currently running 80 ships, and operates and manages vessels that service both national and international lines, was being eyed by big corporates as SCI also owns huge assets outside the country.

Yadav, who has been leading the fight against privatization of the company, said, “Thousands will be rendered jobless and at least 10,000 people will have to face the consequences of the privatization of SCI.”

Saying that the rationale behind privatization of SCI is beyond comprehension as the company earned a profit of over Rs 300 crore in the first quarter of FY 21 and its operational value also increased to Rs 1143 crore from Rs 918 crore, Yadav added, “Selling out of the SCI would be opposed at each and every step.”

“The policy of the government to sell the Navratna firm is not acceptable to us and we would like to request all seafarers to oppose the same,” Yadav said.

It is worth recalling here that the Modi government had, in principle, approved the privatisation of SCI in November 2019, for which EoIs have been submitted recently. Sources said once the EoI process is over, RFP (request for proposal) would be invited, following which the selected parties would be called to apply for the financial bid.

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Published: 09 Mar 2021, 2:52 PM