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State-owned telecommunications services providers Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited apart from state carrier Air India registered a net loss of more than Rs 116.86 billion in 2016-17, effectively becoming the top 3 loss-making ventures of the government.
The Public Enterprises Survey 2016-17, tabled in parliament on Tuesday by the Department of Public Enterprises, showed that the number of loss-making central enterprises have continued to rise for the third straight year, growing to 82 in the last financial year.
Over the past 4 years, the Modi government has stepped up its effort to streamline its operations spread across hundreds of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE) and is hoping to rake in about Rs. 1000 billion in 2017-18 through disinvestment in these firms. The preliminary target for 2018-19 is currently Rs 800 billion.
However, the net loss posted by all 82 loss-making central ventures is a staggering Rs. 250.45 billion. Of this figure, more than 83 per cent of the loss emanates from the top 10 loss making CPSEs during 2016-17.
The top list of underperforming ventures also includes firms like Hindustan Photo Films Manufacturing Companies limited and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited which have been hemorrhaging money for years.
However, the overall net profit made by all 257 operating Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE) during 2016-17 stood at Rs. 1276 billion, up by more than 11 per cent from the Rs. 1142 billion registered net profit seen in the year before. The survey also pointed out that reserves & surplus of all CPSEs went up to Rs. 9237 billion in 2016-17 up from Rs. 8985 billion in the year before.
The governments push towards streamlining the substantial workforce of these companies have resulted in a lower workforce in 2016-17. All CPSEs had a combined workforce of 11.31 lakh people excluding casual and contractual workers in 2016-17 compared to 11.85 lakh in 2015-16, showing a reduction in employee strength by 4.60 per cent. Senior government officials said this trend is expected to strengthen over the years.
Concurrently, salaries rose by 10.38 per cent at these companies as well.
The total market capitalization of 50 CPSEs which are traded on stock exchanges of India was Rs. 17,756 billion on 31st March, 2017 up by an annual 37.24 per cent.