Govt expects to complete Air India, BPCL sale in Q1 FY22

With a renewed push to its disinvestment policy, the Centre expects to complete the much-delayed privatisation of Air India and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) in the first quarter of the upcoming financial year (2021-22).

The government has received Expressions of Interest (EoIs) from interested parties for both the national carrier and the energy major, but it is yet to announce the selected bidders for the two state-run companies.

Speaking to IANS on the completion of the transactions for both the disinvestment processes, Secretary for the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), Tuhin Kanta Pandey said: “We are thinking of closing it in the first quarter.”

The privatisation of the flag carrier has already faced several hurdles with initial lack of interest for the airline and the Covid pandemic has further delayed the process. Similarly, strategic sale of BPCL also was impacted amid the pandemic and low oil prices.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech on February 1 said that all the announced disinvestment processes, including strategic sales and the LIC IPO will be completed in the next financial year.

On the much-anticipated IPO of public sector insurer Life Insurance Corp of India (LIC), the Disinvestment Secretary noted the fact that LIC is a complex undertaking, but the government is up to the challenge and will complete the market offering post October.

“It may happen after October… around Diwali,” Pandey said.

The senior official is of the view that the government’s new disinvestment policy is aimed at economic growth and employment creation, rather than plugging the vast fiscal deficit.

He told IANS that the government’s latest privatisation push actually completes the liberalisation reforms of 1991.

This year’s budget came up with a major thrust on privatisation and the Finance Minister also proposed to privatise two state-run banks apart from IDBI Bank and one general insurance company.

The government’s disinvestment target for the upcoming fiscal has been pegged at Rs 1.75 lakh crore. The disinvestment target for the current fiscal is Rs 2.10 lakh crore while the revenue collected through disinvestment is only Rs 19,499 crore.

(Rituraj Baruah can be reached at and Subhash Narayan can be contacted at