Disinvestment in India

National Land Monetisation Corporation (NLMC)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National Land Monetisation Corporation (NLMC)

Mains level : Asset Monetization

The Union Cabinet has approved the creation of the National Land Monetisation Corporation (NLMC), the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) announced in the Union Budget 2021-22 to carry out monetisation of government and surplus land holdings of public sector undertakings (PSU).

 What is the NLMC?

  • The NLMC will be a firm, fully owned by the government, to carry out the monetisation of government and public sector assets in the form of surplus, unused or underused land assets.
  • It will fall under the administrative jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance and will be set up with an initial authorised share capital of ₹5,000 crore and a paid-up capital of ₹150 crore.
  • Apart from monetising underutilised or unused land parcels of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), the Corporation will also facilitate the monetisation of assets belonging to PSUs that have ceased operations or are in line for a strategic disinvestment.
  • The surplus land and building assets of such enterprises are expected to be transferred to the NLMC, which will then hold, manage and monetise them.

What will it do?

  • The setting of the NLMC will speed up the closure process of the CPSEs and smoothen the strategic disinvestment process.
  • It will also enable productive utilisation of these under-utilised assets by setting in motion private sector investments.
  • It will boost new economic activities such as industrialisation, boosting the local economy by generating employment and generating financial resources for potential economic and social infrastructure.
  • Besides managing and monetising, the NLMC will act as an advisory body and support other government entities and CPSEs in identifying their surplus non-core assets.
  • It will help monetising them in an efficient and professional manner, maximising the scope of value realisation.

What does monetization mean?

  • When the government monetises its assets, it essentially means that it is transferring the revenue rights of the asset (could be idle land, infrastructure, PSU) to a private player for a specified period of time.
  • In such a transaction, the government gets in return an upfront payment from the private entity, regular share of the revenue generated from the asset, a promise of steady investment into the asset, and the title rights to the monetised asset.
  • There are multiple ways to monetise government assets; in the case of land monetisation of certain spaces like offices, it can be done through a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).

What are REITs?

Ans: REITs a company that owns and operates a land asset and sometimes, funds income-producing real estate. Assets of the government can also be monetised through the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) model.

Why need monetization?

  • There are different reasons why the government monetises its assets.
  • One of them is to create new sources of revenue.
  • The economy has already been hit due to the coronavirus pandemic and revenues are essential to fulfil the Modi government’s target of achieving a $5 trillion economy.
  • Monetisation is also done to unlock the potential of unused or underused assets by involving institutional investors or private players.
  • Thirdly, it is also done to generate resources or capital for future asset creation, such as using the money generated from monetisation to create new infrastructure projects.

How will the NLMC function?

  • The firm will hire professionals from the private sector with a merit based approach, similar to other specialised government companies like the National investment and infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Invest India.
  • This is because asset monetisation of real estate requires expertise in valuation of property, market research, investment banking, land management, legal diligence and other related skill sets.
  • The NLMC will undertake monetisation as an agency function and is expected to act as a directory of best practices in land monetisation.

How much land is currently available for monetisation?

  • According to the Economic Survey 2021-2022, as of now, CPSEs have put nearly 3,400 acres of land on the table for potential monetisation.
  • They have referred this land to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM).
  • As per the survey, monetisation of non-core assets of PSUs such as MTNL, BSNL, BPCL, B&R, BEML, HMT Ltd, Instrumentation Ltd etc are at different stages.

What are the possible challenges for NLMC?

(a) Volatile market situation

  • The performance and productivity of the NLMC will also depend on the government’s performance on its disinvestment targets.
  • In FY 2021-22, the government has hardly been able to raise expected amounts through various forms of disinvestment.
  • For example, the Life Insurance Corporation IPO, which was supposed to raise ₹60,000 crore is now shrouded in uncertainty owing to the Russia-Ukraine crisis making stock markets volatile.
  • If the IPO does not hit the markets by the end of March, the government would be missing its disinvestment targets by a wide margin.

(b) Issues with transfer of rights

  • The process of asset monetisation does not end when the government transfers revenue rights to private players.
  • Identifying profitable revenue streams for the monetised land assets, ensuring adequate investment by the private player and setting up a dispute-resolution mechanism are also important tasks.

(c) Unattractiveness of PPP Model

  • Posing as another potential challenge would be the use of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) as a monetisation model.
  • For instance, the results of the Centre’s PPP initiative launched in 2020 for the Railways were not encouraging.
  • It had invited private parties to run 150 trains of the Indian Railways but when bids were thrown open, nine clusters of trains saw no bidders.

 

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