Odisha Public Enterprise Reform Programme:
Since 1996-97, the Department of Public Enterprises has been overseeing the Odisha Public Enterprise Reform Project which has the following objectives:
- To create competitive market conditions consistent with the policy of liberalisation and removal of protectionism by placing commercial activities in the hands of private owners.
- To eliminate budgetary support for loss making PSEs and thereby make available the funds generated for much needed programmes in the social sector, such as health and education.
- To prevent further loss of capital by undertaking speedy reorganisation of loss making PSEs, as with the passing of every additional year public enterprises face greater difficulty with the realisable value of assets progressively decreasing.
- To mitigate the suffering of employees in loss making undertakings, who have not received their wages and salaries for months together, by providing to them a package towards severance of their service and thereby allow them with a clear mandate to pursue their own alternative plans and programmes.
- To enable greater private initiative and facilitate infusion of private capital into these enterprises for undertaking expansion, technology up-gradation and modernisation proposals.
- To facilitate higher productivity and higher value-added for each of the factors of production such as capital, labour and other resources through more efficient deployment.
- To free the Government from those economic activities where the private sector can play an effective role, thereby making the government machinery available for other purposes.
Honourable Chief Minister’s statement:
More than half the public sector units in Odisha are already closed owing to several reasons. The few operational ones are losing money in a situation where the state is so hard pressed for finances. Several of the public sector undertakings do not meet the objectives for which they were set up. In most cases, the private sector has overtaken them despite years of government protection. The continuing financial burden of the PSUs increases our States fiscal deficit and reduces my Governments ability to pursue welfare and development schemes for the poor, which Odisha needs far more than anything else.
Times have changed and so we need to change our thinking as well. Unless we do so, we will be of less interest to investors, and consequently our youth and future generations will suffer, despite the hard working people of Odisha and despite the states abundant natural resources.
It is estimated that everyday PSUs in the State haemorrhage about four and half crores of Rupees. This precious money could have built more than 250 schools or 300 kilometers of metalled road everyday. The losses are mounting everyday, and so is our indebtedness.
There are not many options we have; my Government is committed to protecting the interest of workers of PSUs, who for no fault of theirs today find themselves in a desperate situation.
Change is difficult, and our workers are surely more interested in continuing with their jobs and the only way to ensure this for the few thousand PSU workers in the State is to offer these units to the private sector for continuing production or activity.
This is in line with what is happening in India and elsewhere and also has been undertaken in Odisha in the past with a fair degree of success. Privatisation or disinvestment is an effective way to continue economic activity and preserve jobs.
VRS & VSS
Restructuring of the state’s public sector enterprises involves rightsizing of the workforce in state public enterprises. This helps in mitigating the trauma of certain sections of workers whose salaries and other benefits have remained unpaid for months. Several units are inoperative, and hence the workers in such cases have no work.
Social Safety Net Programme:
The Public Enterprise Reforms Programme runs the Social Safety Net Programme (SSNP) intended to train and rehabilitate the displaced employees. Such a programme is assisting large number of skilled and capable retired persons to take up alternative employment and thus enable them to mitigate the trauma of joblessness. The programme includes the following
- Survey/ counselling for adjudging the skill set, aptitude capability and needs of individual workers and offering them vocational guidance.
- In-depth counselling for identifying available options for workers and exploration of opportunities including ad judgement of capability and offering skill up-gradation or acquiring new skills, which could improve one’s chances for alternative source of earning.
- Free vocational training orientation and guidance for alternative livelihood through either wage-employment or self-employment venture.
Under the SSNP, out of the target group of voluntarily retired workers, 7,277 had been surveyed, 6791 have been counselled and 1,486 have been either retrained or are undergoing training as on 31st March, 2002