Government To Sell Its Stake In LIC Through IPO, Says Nirmala Sitharaman (Photo Credit: PTI)
Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman on Saturday announced that government will reduce its stake in insurance behemoth Life Insurance Cooperation (LIC) through an initial public offering (IPO). "Government will list LIC on the stock exchanges", she said while presenting Budget 2020 in the Parliament. Currently, the government owns the entire 100 per cent stake in LIC.
This could be the country's biggest initial public offering in recent times, the government will list LIC of India in the next financial year starting April. The proposal to list LIC is being made with the purpose of pushing revenues of the government.
The current year disinvestment could not go beyond Rs 18,000 crore. The listing of the company is going to be complicated as it has huge investments in real estate, art and equity market, which may prove to be time consuming for valuation purposes, an official said.
India's largest life insurer LIC''s surplus for 2018-19 increased 9.9 per cent to Rs 532.14 billion. This was the first time that LIC''s surplus crossed the 500-bln-rupee mark.
Meanwhile, Sitharaman on Saturday cut short her Budget speech in Lok Sabha as she felt unwell after speaking for a record 160 minutes. Sitharaman had only two pages of her Budget speech unread when she appeared uneasy and was seen wiping sweat from her forehead.
She was offered candies by her ministerial colleagues, but that did not help and she opted to discontinue the speech asking Speaker Om Birla to consider the remaining part of her speech as read.
This was the longest Budget speech by any finance minister. Sitharaman, 60, broke her own record of a 2-hour-17-minute-long maiden Budget speech in July 2019.
The Finance Minister later laid budget documents and demand for grants for the next financial year in Rajya Sabha. The Upper House, which met around 1:30 pm for tabling of budget documents, was adjourned as her speech was still continuing in Lok Sabha.
The Rajya Sabha met again at 1:55 pm but was again adjourned for 10 minutes as Sitharaman reached late. When she arrived in the upper house, many members approached her and were seen asking her wellbeing. After laying of papers, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the House till Monday.