The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
Oppose IOC Privatisation
The decision of the Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment to privatise the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is shocking. The Rs. 1,20,170 crore IOC is India's biggest company and sole representative in the Fortune 500 list. It is the seventeenth largest petroleum company in the world. The government's stake in IOC is 82.03 per cent.
IOC is one of the best-run public sector units in the country. In the financial year 2002-03, IOC contributed Rs. 33,007 crores to the national exchequer. It has paid a dividend of a whopping 160 per cent. Its net profit for the year, after paying the dividends, taxes and duties, was Rs. 6,579 crores.
The destruction of such a valuable public asset is nothing but unbridled loot. That privatisation will increase competition and contribute to the overall economy is a myth that is being assiduously created by this Vajpayee-led government to facilitate the loot of public assets. In the past, the privatisation of oil and petroleum units has only resulted in strengthening private monopolies.
Further, in terms of contribution to the national exchequer, the entire Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) paid to the government exchequer on account of taxes around Rs. 10,000 crores only, i.e., less than one-third of what the IOC contributed in the same year. Interestingly, RIL gas has reserves and surpluses of Rs. 28,978 crores while that of IOC are Rs. 14,532 crores. Clearly, with double the surpluses, the RIL contributes less than one-third to the national exchequer than the IOC.
This Vajpayee government is virtually killing the goose that lays the golden egg. The Disinvestment Minister is converting India's self-reliance into the Vajpayee government's "self" and "Reliance".
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) calls upon the Indian people to launch strong protest actions against this decision.