New Delhi: Left parties have hit out at the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, claiming that is a plan to "sell" India's assets and it will be "disastrous".
Sitharaman on Monday launched the NMP in an effort to list out the government's infrastructure assets to be sold over the next four years. Addressing the media, she said the budget identified infrastructure as the key focus for public expenditure. The NMP comprises a four-year pipeline of the government's brownfield infrastructure assets.
"CAMOUFLAGED in jargon that speaks of 'monetisation of de-risked assets', the BJP-led NDA government has announced its plan to sell out India's public sector," the CPI(M) said in an editorial in its mouthpiece People's Democracy.
The party also said that the finance minister "conveniently side-stepped" key issues.
"In sum monetisation, while justified as a process through which resources for investment in greenfield infrastructure projects is to be mobilised, is nothing but a scheme to expand the terrain of operation of big business, so that the latter can earn high returns either at the expense of the consumer or the state exchequer. It is a scheme to engineer a transfer of income and wealth to those at the apex of the wealth pyramid," it said.
The party also said that there is "little clarity" on how the government would ensure that private managers of assets would provide services of acceptable quality. Putting in place a regulatory regime for the purpose can be costly and time consuming, leading to neglect and a decline in the quality of more expensive services.
It also alleged that the scheme, which the party said was "scandalous" was aimed to fatten the "bottom line of chosen business" houses and would not contribute significantly to the creation of new assets.
"The government claims that Rs 111 lakh crore will be invested over five years in projects included in the so-called National Infrastructure Pipeline. The Rs 6 lakh crore to be realised from asset monetisation is only about five per cent of that. The Modi government is justifying handing over wealth created with public money over decades to big business to get itself five per cent of the planned investment in infrastructure over the coming five years. This is nothing but a scam parading as a plan," it said.
The CPI in a statement also criticised the NMP stating that it was a continuation of the "government's anti-people economic policies".
"Disastrous national monetisation continues. All of us know that monetisation is one step short of direct sale and privatisation of national assets. Thus the government's anti-people economic policies continue," CPI general secretary D Raja said in a statement.
The response of the government to the questions raised by political parties and trade unions is not at all convincing, but it clearly shows that the government abdicates its responsibility to revive the economy from recession and shows its shameless commitment to help the corporate houses and big business houses to loot the national assets, he alleged.
The Communist Party of India calls upon people to intensify struggles against these retrograde policies, Raja said.
The NMP comprises a four-year pipeline of the central government's brownfield infrastructure assets. Besides providing visibility to investors, it will also serve as a medium-term roadmap for the asset monetisation initiative of the government.
The government proposes to raise Rs 6 lakh crore through this measure.