‘PM selling crown jewels of country’: Rahul Gandhi targets Centre over National Monetisation Pipeline plan

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had Monday unveiled the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) that included unlocking value by involving private companies across infrastructure sectors — from passenger trains and railway stations to airports, roads, and stadiums.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi Tuesday lashed out at the Central government over the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) plan, alleging that the BJP-led government is selling all assets created in the last 70 years to the Prime Minister’s “industrialist friends”.

“The Narendra Modi-led government is in the process of selling India’s crown jewels built by previous governments with public money over 70 years,” Gandhi said while addressing a press conference along with senior Congress leader P Chidambaram.

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The Congress leader alleged that the BJP government’s privatisation plan is aimed at creating monopolies in key sectors and that it will kill jobs.

On Monday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had unveiled the NMP, worth Rs 6 lakh crore, that included unlocking value by involving private companies across infrastructure sectors — from passenger trains and railway stations to airports, roads, and stadiums.

The Congress has described the government’s infrastructure monetisation plan as “legalised loot and organised plunder”, alleging that invaluable public assets created over decades are being handed over to a chosen few. It further alleged that the government is giving away assets worth crores made from the hard work of the people to its billionaire “friends”.

Hitting out at the Centre, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had earlier alleged that the government is giving the “jumla of Aatmanirbhar (rhetoric of self-reliance)” but has made the country dependent on its “billionaire friends”.

“While giving the ‘jumla’ of ‘Aatmanirbhar’, they have made the entire government dependent on ‘billionaire friends’. All the work for those billionaire friends and all the wealth also for them,” she said in a tweet in Hindi.

The four-year National Monetisation Pipeline has been announced to provide a clear framework for monetisation and give potential investors a ready list of assets to generate investment interest. The government has stressed that these are brownfield assets, which have been “de-risked” from execution risks and therefore should encourage private investment. Structuring the monetisation transactions providing a balance risk profile of assets and an effective execution of the NMP will be a key challenge.

Roads, railways and power sector assets will comprise over 66 per cent of the total estimated value of the assets to be monetised, with the balance coming from sectors including telecom, mining, aviation, ports, natural gas and petroleum product pipelines, warehouses and stadiums.

As many as 25 Airports Authority of India (AAI) airports, including the ones at Chennai, Bhopal, Varanasi and Vadodara, as well as 40 railway stations, 15 railway stadiums and an unidentified number of railway colonies have been identified for getting private investments.

Stating that there is no transfer of ownership or land, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said, “The NMP talks about brownfield infra assets where investments have already been made, where there is a completed asset which is either languishing or which is remaining not fully monetised or which is remaining underutilised.”

She added that monetisation will create further value for infrastructure creation in the country and explore innovative ways of private participation without transfer of government ownership.

The government had announced plans for NMP in this year’s Budget and earlier in August.

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