On August 23, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), which is expected to fetch around ₹5.96 lakh crore to the government. Following through on a decision announced in the Budget to monetise public assets to fund fresh capital expenditure on infrastructure, the government released a list of projects and facilities to be offered to private investors over the next four years through structured leasing and securitisation transactions. One, only assets that are already operational, are planned to be leased out under the NMP. Two, the government says it only plans to hand control over its assets for a certain period of time, after which the assets must be returned to the government unless the lease is extended. The top three sectors identified for asset monetisation include railways, airports and coal mining. Concerns have been raised around the move – corporate favouritism, rising costs for users and handing over strategic assets amongst others.
Speaking with Mitali Mukherjee, Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram laid out his key concerns around the idea and its lack of detail.
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