In 1991, India started a campaign to sell government stakes in state-owned enterprises, part of its effort to liberalise the economy. These divestments have since become a significant source of income for the government and a core part of the budget every year.
But they have never quite met the high targets the government has set.
India has had ambitious divestment targets in recent years, seeing these sales as an important way to improve the operational efficiency of public sector companies.
Some state-owned companies put a huge burden on government expenditure, driven to inefficiencies by their monopoly power. It made sense to...