Managing PSUs – UPSC GS3

Context: Govt. unveiled the National Monetisation Programme (NMP) under which ₹6 trillion is expected to be raised by leasing core assets of the Central government over the course of four years (FY2022 to FY2025).
Facts about CPSUs:
  • There are 256 operationally-run central public sector undertakings (CPSUs), employing about one million people.
  • Out of these, 96 have been conferred the Ratna status.
What are the reasons behind decline of PSUs?
  • Cost overruns: In some cases, project completion time is exceeded, leading to elevated project cost or the project itself becoming unviable by the time of completion.
  • Overcapitalisation: Optimum input-output ratio is seldom observed in a majority of government infrastructural projects, leading to their overcapitalisation.
  • reluctance to implement labour reforms
  • lack of inter-ministerial/departmental coordination
  • Poor decision-making, ineffective governance and excessive government control
What steps has the Govt taken to strengthen the public sector businesses?
  • Pradhan Mantri Gati Shakti National Master Plan for multi-modal connectivity was launched recently. It aims to achieve seamless planning and coordinated execution of infrastructure projects in a timely manner.
  • The Department of Public Enterprises has initiated revamping of the performance monitoring system of CPSEs to make them more transparent, objective and forward-looking, based on sectoral indices/benchmarks.
  • The Economic Survey highlights the Govt’s initiatives as part of the Atmanirbhar Abhiyaan in order to boost domestic production in the steel sector and protecting industry from unfair trade through measures like imposition of anti-dumping duty and countervailing duty on the products.
Way Forward:
  • As per the Economic Survey 2020-21, Govt needs to revamp the corporate governance structure of public sector businesses.
  • This will enhance their operational autonomy with strong governance practices, including listing on the stock exchange for greater transparency and accountability.