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Despite govt’s effort to revive them, 18 PSUs remain in ‘red’

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Jammu, Mar 22:  Even as the Mehbooba Mufti government made efforts to bring 18 public sector undertakings (PSUs) in Jammu and Kashmir back on track,  these firms continue to remain in ‘red’, with losses suffered by them to the tune of over Rs 191 crore over the last two years.

As per official figures, recently revealed by the Jammu and Kashmir government in the State Assembly last month, J&K Cements limited is leading the table of such PSUs with a loss of Rs 46.74 crore – Rs 31.73 crore in 2016-17 and Rs 15.01 crore in 2017-18.

However, two PSUs – JK Minerals limited and JK Projects Construction Corporation – joined six other profit making PSUs in 2017-18 after registering losses in the previous financial year.     The JK State Financial Corporation, on the other hand, slipped into the loss of 1.02 crore in 2016-17 against a profit of Rs 45.73 lakhs in 2015-16, becoming the 10th loss making PSU in the state, the figures, collected by Finance department, said.

Many of the PSUs are running in losses for a very long time and the state government had to intervene with financial support to ensure regular salaries to the agitated employees.

The previous government, in 2011, even introduced a golden handshake scheme as part of efforts to revive the sick PSUs, which are under the administrative control of various departments.

Other major PSUs suffering losses include JK State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC). While it had suffered a loss of Rs 13.73 crore in 2015-16, the loss shot up to 31.44 crores in 2016-17.

Several of loss-making PSUs showed a remarkable progress like JK Handloom Corporation, which restricted its loss to Rs 3.21 crore in 2017-18 against Rs 13.56 crore in the previous year.

State Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCO) brought down the loss to almost half from Rs 4.45 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 2.74 crore 2017-18, while JK Handicrafts Corporation recorded a loss of Rs 8.95 crore in 2017-18 against Rs 10.07 crore the previous year.

Horticultural Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation (HPMC) showed a slight improvement from a loss of Rs 6.59 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 6.25 crore in 2016-17.

Likewise, Scheduled Caste, Schedule Tribe, Backward class development corporation’s loss stood at Rs 11.36 crore in 2016-17 compared to Rs 11.79 crore in 2015-16. However, JK Industries limited failed to restrict the losses, which was Rs 7.06 crore in 2016-17 and that increased to Rs 10.50 crore in the current financial year.

JK Agro Industries also incurred a loss of Rs 1.22 crore in 2016-17 as against Rs 49.35 lakhs in 2015-16.

During the last two years, as a part of the institutional reforms, an official of the finance department said the process of financial engineering in PSUs has been successfully initiated.      “The process to clean up the balance sheets and improve bottom lines of the PSUs, prior to bringing them under a new holding company structure, is under way,” he said.

The official said all the loans given by the government to the PSUs have been converted into equity.

In March last year, the government appointed 16 top party functionaries of the ruling coalition comprising PDP and BJP as vice chairpersons of 16 PSUs, drawing criticism from the opposition parties which termed the move as a “burden” on the already sick units in the state.

Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Department is leading the table of profitable PSUs, with a profit of Rs 463.99 crore – Rs 216.23 crore in 2015-16 and 257.76 in 2016-17.

JK Police housing Corporation, JK Cable car Corporation and JK Small Scale Industries Development Corporation (JKSICOP) also registered a profit of Rs 28.30 crore (2015-16 and 2016-17), Rs 23.99 crore (2015-16 and 2016-17) and Rs 10.06 crore (2016-17 and 2017-18), respectively.

Against a profit of Rs 7.20 crore in 2015-16, the JK Womens development Corporation profit fell to 87 lakhs in 2016-17.

In November last year, the then finance minister Haseeb Drabu had pitched for immediate restructuring the PSUs to make them better organised as per the present requirements.

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