Nirmala Sitharaman, India's finance minister. Picture: T.NARAYAN/BLOOMBERG
Nirmala Sitharaman, India's finance minister. Picture: T.NARAYAN/BLOOMBERG

New Delhi — India plans to raise 1.75-billion rupees ($24bn) selling assets including its flagship carrier Air India  and Bharat Petroleum Corporation as it attempts to raise funds to finance projects aimed at reviving Asia’s third-largest economy.

The government will also seek buyers for Shipping Corporation of India, IDBI Bank and two other banks, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her speech on Monday outlining the nation’s budget for the year starting April 1.

Selling assets will be a key pillar for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration’s move to boost spending. Investors though may want to see some big-ticket sales since the government has so far failed to raise even 10% of the 2.1-trillion rupees target for the current fiscal year and didn’t meet the goal it set even in the previous year.

The government forecasts GDP  will accelerate to 11% in the next fiscal year, after possibly contracting the most since at least 1952.

Asset sale proceeds are crucial for the government to meet its spending requirements and lower the budget deficit that’s may widen to 9.5% of the GDP in 2021 — against the aim of 3.5% — and is seeing narrowing to 6.8% in the fiscal year starting April 1, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The government will also sell shares in Life Insurance Corportion of India, Sitharaman said.



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