Finance and corporate affairs minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said the differences between the corporate affairs ministry and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) over the attachment of properties of Bhushan Power & Steel (BPSL), which is under the insolvency resolution process, would be resolved soon.
The ED has seized a portion of BPSL’s assets in a money laundering case against its former promoters. While the corporate affairs ministry has held that the ED can’t initiate such action when BPSL is under the insolvency process, the ED feels it has the authority to do so under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
“On this matter, I had some discussions. I am conscious of the fact that ED does its duty and job, and when it comes to the question of attaching such properties of people who are being pursued under the PMLA, some of the company property is also getting attached,” Sitharaman said. “I had a meeting with both revenue secretary and corporate affairs secretary. We are applying our mind on it. Let’s see how we resolve it. We recognised that there is an issue,” she told reporters here.
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has asked the ED to release the attached properties and directed the agency not to attach any further assets without its permission. However, the appellate body also put the Rs 19,700-crore payout by the JSW Steel to buy the debt-ridden company on hold until further orders.
Asked to comment on the government’s decision on Wednesday to merge struggling state-run telecom firms BSNL and MTNL, the minister said, “We recognise the role that the BSNL and MTNL and the combined institution has to play in the country’s telecommunication and connectivity”.
The Cabinet has approved a Rs 69,000-crore revival package for BSNL and MTNL. The package includes the merger of the firms, monetising their assets and giving VRS to employees so that the broader entity turns profitable in two years.
Commenting on the country’s record performance in the World Bank’s latest ease of doing business report, the minister said efforts will be ramped up to further simplify the goods and services tax regime (GST), which would further improve India’s ranking in the coming years.
Although India’s overall ranking has improved by as much as 14 notches from last year to the 63rd position now, its performance in the ‘paying taxes’ category still remained far below potential — at 115th position, despite a rise of 6 notches from last year.
Similarly, the minister called for greater efforts by states to improve the business climate, especially with regard to property registration.
In the next year’s ranking, the World Bank will also include the business climate in Kolkata and Bengaluru. So far, it has taken into account only Delhi and Mumbai.
Chief economic adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian said the current loan outreach programme being undertaken by banks, especially the state-run ones, has helped improve credit access to MSMEs. This may help improve India’s ranking next year in the ‘getting credit’ parameter, where the country’s rank in this year’s report has slipped by 3 places to 25th.
Source : PTI