There is positivity around LIC public offer: Nirmala Sitharaman



Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday there is positivity around the mega initial public offer of state-owned Life Insurance Corp., in spite of global uncertainties.  

Speaking to reporters after the board meeting of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in the capital, Sitharaman said, “There is a positive buzz in the air that the government has committed itself and is showing it and because of the way it is tailored, policy holders are going to get a share, retail investors are going to get a share, and this is the biggest IPO coming. So, there is an air of positivity which was so required when you are doing something with the stock market,” Sitharaman said expressing optimism about the largest initial public offer in the country in spite of external factors such as high oil price and geopolitical tension that could spook investors.  

The minister called the IPO a “very positive development in the LIC’s history,” while answering a question on external factors influencing global investor sentiments. The government intends to sell over 316 million shares in the company and seeks a valuation of at least 15 trillion for the company, Mint reported on Monday. Some shares would be reserved for employees and policy holders.  

The government’s disinvestment policy entails privatising loss making state-run companies, selling stake in companies and assets to generate resources for infrastructure investments and letting healthy companies to tap the market for their capital requirements. 

In response to another question on crypto currency, the minister said that the finance ministry and the central bank have been in discussions about cryptocurrency and that there is complete harmony in the working of both on every issue. “There is no turfing here,” the minister said. 

Sitharaman’s comments come in the context of the government moving to tax digital virtual currencies and the central bank cautioning investors that the cryptocurrency has no underlying value. 

Sitharaman had in her Budget speech on 1 February announced that a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) would be issued by the RBI. The budget also proposed a 30% tax on gains made from digital virtual assets from April 1.  

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said that as in the case of several other issues, the RBI and the finance ministry have been holding internal discussions on this subject. 

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