Even as the Congress and other Opposition parties criticised the Centre over the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said that there is no reason to oppose the ambitious plan of the Union government to raise Rs 6 lakh crore, provided the bidding process is transparent.
Last month, Union finance minister Nirmal Sitharaman had unveiled the NMP that aims to raise money for the Centre by unlocking the value of government infrastructure assets in various sectors ranging from power to railways.
The National Conference vice-president said, “I see no reason why I should oppose a scheme that is looking to monetise an asset that otherwise is not giving me a suitable return. If the same asset would have been privatised, I would then have questioned the government.” He added, “It is important to draw a distinction between privatisation and monetisation. Monetisation is giving an asset on lease but not transferring the ownership of that asset.”
Omar Abdullah, however, said that he is hopeful that everything will be done through a transparent bidding process. He clarified that he is opposed to the heavy taxation imposed on motor fuels and the rising prices of domestic liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders.
What is National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP)?
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in August unveiled the Rs 6 lakh crore National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) that aims to monetise brownfield assets by bringing private participation. Sitharaman also clarified that only under-utilised assets will be monetised while the ownership will remain with the government.
NMP has been developed by the Niti Aayog in consultation with several ministries and the government wants to raise money through monetising the value of the core assets owned by it over four years starting from 2022 to 2025.
Criticising the plan, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had said, “First came the demonetisation disaster, which Dr Manmohan Singh rightly described as “organised loot and legalised plunder”. Now comes monetisation mela— invaluable public assets created over decades given away to a chosen few. This is legalised loot and organised plunder.”
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