Government to ‘exit sectors where it is not required,’ says Niti Aayog VC

Rajiv Kumar said that even within strategic sectors, the government is keen to retain some physical capacities and not monopolise the entire sector

Niti Aayog, coronavirus, COVID-19, Lockdown, Aviation Ministry, Coronavirus outbreak
The Niti Ayog thinks the government needs to retain only some physical capacities within the strategic sector.

Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said that privatization is not just a source of revenue for the government, but a way for ‘giving greater space and opportunity to the private sector.’ Laying out the Centre’s vision, Kumar said the government is keen to “withdraw from sectors where it is not really required”.

Speaking to the Indian Express, Kumar said, “So, the ambition has been laid out very clearly by the Prime Minister himself that except for the strategic sectors, the government should move out of all other sectors, and even within the strategic sectors, it should only retain some physical capacities and not monopolise the entire sector either.”

Niti Aayog Vice Chairman said the government is contemplating the idea of bringing in the private sector into the small nuclear reactor business. “The private sector has to be much more vibrant, dynamic and trusted partner in India’s economic development and growth story,” he said.

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When asked what will be the government strategy on privatisation of banks, Kumar said they will first amend the Bank Nationalisation Act and the Banking Regulation Act and then think of which banks to target – weak ones or the strong ones.

On whether Electric Vehicle (EV) and hydrogen sectors can co-exist, Kumar said the use of hydrogen in vehicles is still far away. “It requires decentralised production of green hydrogen, which is not so easy.” He said the EV sector is as important as hydrogen. “I don’t think that the advent of green hydrogen is negating the advantages and benefits of electric mobility,” Kumar said.

He also highlighted the that EVs are here to stay because over 67% of the vehicles on roads are two-wheelers and by moving them all to electric, the government will do a lot in terms of conservation and environment protection. “I don’t see hydrogen overtaking in the short period… But yes, it is the fuel of the future,” he said.

Also read: All Delhi government vehicles to switch to electric in 6 months

Kumar said that while the government is concerned about the plight of the middle class, right now it is focused on the poor and below poverty line because they were the ones hot worst by the pandemic.

Also read: In the rush to go electric, do not end up in China’s control

“We are not clear if we can fiscally support the middle class despite the hike in the expenditure and fiscal deficit. That would put an unsustainable burden…, which I don’t think would be useful,” he said.

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