Divesting In HAL Is Like Selling National Sovereignty: Workers
BANGALORE: Workers of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a defence public sector undertaking, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, appealing him not to proceed with further disinvestment of HAL in the interest of national sovereignty.
The letter was made public on Saturday. The workers, under the All-India HAL Trade Unions Coordination Committee, said that they were surprised when the government proposed further disinvestment by selling up to 15 per cent stake in HAL through Offer For Sale (OFS). “It is nothing but selling national sovereignty.
The morale and motivation of our workers is directly connected with HAL being solely a government enterprise,” they said. While the government proposes to sell 3.34 crore equity shares or 10 per cent paid-up share capital of the company in the ‘base offer size’, there is an option to sell additional 5 per cent or 1.67 crore equity shares in the ‘oversubscription option’, they said.
Welcoming the government’s proposal to increase defence manufacturing in India to achieve self-reliance through Atmanirbhar Bharat, the Union said that it awaited sufficient book orders. The workers accused the government of crippling HAL’s ability to expand and causing a disadvantage when competing with the private sector, with further disinvestment and lesser cash reserve.
Through ‘buyback’ of shares, the central government took away Rs 6,369 crore from the ‘Reserves and Surplus’ account of HAL, they added. They asked HAL to be made a prime nodal agency for all defence aerospace requirements of India, just as ISRO is for space.
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