Two days after Modi government announced the selling of 15 percent of its stake in state owned aerospace and defence company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), employees of the company, wrote to PM Narendra Modi urging him not to sell the government’s stake and weaken the 80-year-old PSU.
Arguing that HAL is a Navratna defence PSU, the employees to BJP led government Prime Minsiter Modi in a sarcastic remark said, “Selling the PSU is nothing but selling national sovereignty”.
Angered by the government’s move, the employees claimed that Modi government has already taken away Rs 6,393 crore from HAL’s reserves and surplus account in the last three years from 2016 to 2019.
While, as per documents, Rs 5,184 crore was taken away in 2016, Rs 1,209 crore was taken away in 2019 by using the methods of “buy back”.
Besides, HAL has also paid about Rs 845 crores in the form of dividend till 2018.
“With further disinvestment, HAL with lesser cash reserves will be at a disadvantage when we have to compete with the private sector for booking order.
This is a very dangerous move as it cripples our ability to expand our manufacturing capacity and develop new products.
The reserves and surplus account is maintained for the next generation of people,” said the All India HAL Trade Unions Coordination Committee (AIHALTUCC).
Appealing to PM Modi not to further proceed with the decision to disinvest in the PSU, the employees’ body said, “We would like to suggest that HAL should be the prime nodal agency for all defence aerospace requirement of the country and other private firm should only be joint venture with HAL, and HAL should directly be controlled by the government. As is being done in case of ISRO…”
Warning the government of increased cost of maintaining India’s strategic position, the employees said, “If HAL disinvestment plan goes ahead, India’s strategic position will be compromised and we will become over dependent on NATO”.
“Disinvestment in the public sector is an indirect attack on social justice which is enshrined in our Constitution.
In the era of globalisation, the poor and backward classes and ST/SC people of our country are finding it very difficult to compete for jobs created by the new economy,” added the AIHALTUCC.