July 24, 2022

Imploding the PSUs from Within

Tikender Singh Panwar

THE hoarding raised just outside the police headquarters in Delhi, by the RSS’s mouthpiece, Panchjanya is a pointer to the fact that the public sector is doomed to be ruined. Panchjanya, which is a weekly newspaper of the RSS held a conference on sustainability in Hotel Le Meridien, Delhi. Something which was not even imagined a few years back, the paper has spent lavish money to hold such a conference. This hoarding still hangs on the walls despite the fact that the event was held a month ago. Whether the NDMC has allowed it to hang free or is charging them is anybody’s guess.

But hold back, the money did not come from their coffers, as is evident from this large hoarding, some public sector units and government companies have contributed to this big event. These are the National Highway Authority of India, International Solar Alliance, Hindustan Copper Limited, Namami Gange and WAPCOS. Their CSR funds are being used for an event run by the RSS mouthpiece!

The antipathy of the RSS and its political outfit, the BJP against the public sector units, is not hidden at all. In fact, they, right since the inception of the formation of the PSUs (RSS) were in opposition to this path of development in India. But now they control the government and with that, they also control the decision-making of these PSUs. It is like the institutional system itself wants to get rid of the system established. Not to go into the details of all the decisions since 2014, taken to dismantle the public sector units, the BJP has in fact controlled some of the most lucrative and profit-making PSUs by nominating its people on the board of directors.

Thus, through this control over the PSUs, as is seen in the Panchjanya conference where the public sector units were funding an RSS conference in a lavish style in a seven-star hotel in Delhi, the BJP has also ensured that the decisions taken in these PSU’s are anti-PSU.


In an independent story done by the Indian Express in 2021, on the basis of an RTI inquiry it was revealed that in the maharatna, navratna and mini ratnas of the 172 independent directors on PSU boards, 86 were belonging to the BJP. Some of them do not even have an iota of understanding of their respective PSU's functioning or have expertise related to them.

Some of the names of important PSUs with a turnover of Rs 25,000 crore over three years, which are controlled by these independent/BJP directors are as:

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited

Manish Kapoor: deputy treasurer, UP BJP. Appointed to the PSU board on Jan 30, 2020.

Rajesh Sharma: ex-national convenor, BJP CA Cell, UP. Appointed on February 20, 2019.

Raj Kamal Bindal: BJP member since 1996. Joined PSU on January 30, 2020

Indian Oil Corporation Limited

Rajendra Arlekar: former Speaker, Goa assembly; ex-minister. Joined PSU on July 24, 2019.

Lata Usendi: vice-president, Chhattisgarh BJP; ex-minister; ex-MLA, Kondagaon.

Steel Authority of India Limited

N Shankarappa: state executive member, Karnataka BJP; ex-MLC; former state OBC commission chairperson.

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited

G Rajendran Pillai: state executive member, Kerala BJP; lost 1996 Assembly poll.

 GAIL Limited

Banto Devi Kataria: wife of Rattan Lal Kataria, union MoS for social justice and empowerment.

Power Grid Corporation of India Limited

A R Mahalakshmi: vice-president, Tamil Nadu BJP; lost 2016 assembly polls.

Shipping Corporation of India Limited

Vijay Tulshiramji Jadhao: BJP candidate in Maharashtra Assembly polls in 2009 and 2014, lost both times.

Mavjibhai B Sorathia: Convener of CA cell, Gujarat BJP; former Mayor of Anjar.

NBCC (India) Limited

Jyoti Kiran Shukla: ex-spokesperson, Rajasthan BJP; former chairperson of State Finance Commission.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited

S Malla Reddy: former vice-president of BJP, Telangana.

Hindustan Copper Limited (one of the partners in the Panchjanya event)

Subhash Sharma: general secretary, Punjab BJP.

Airports Authority of India

Kasam Venkateshwarlu: secretary, Telangana BJP; lost assembly polls in 2009 and 2014.

Central Coalfields Limited

Shubhu Kashyap: BJP Chhattisgarh state executive member; lost 2018 Assembly poll.

Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited

Rashmi Singh: BJP UP; contested 2012 assembly poll.

The Indian Express was told by all of these appointees that there is no conflict of interest between their being in BJP and their appointment to the PSU Boards.

And not to miss that the BJP spokesperson, Sambit Patra is the chairman of another government company, the ITDC.


 These are the few names of the ‘independent’ board of directors chosen by the government to lead the PSUs in the country. All of them are not just from BJP but carry an inherent vice against the PSUs and are determined to dismantle the institution from within.

There are cases where these independent directors have asserted against the interests of the respective PSUs. From reliable sources, it was learnt that the modus operandi was quite similar in almost all their interventions. And that was/is: the PSU will not be allowed to bid for some of the profitable works and instead, the institution will be burdened from lavish spending. Events like the above(Panchjanya conference), in the guise of “sustainable development”, are forced to be sponsored by the PSUs and that too in costly hotels which does not benefit them in any way. The RSS and its organisations have, in fact, blatantly used the apparatus of the government to not just get its coffers filled, but also ensure the fall of the PSUs.

In a director’s conclave on corporate governance held by the ministry of heavy industries in April 2022, none of the functional directors was allowed to place their views and only ‘independent’ directors made speeches with political overtones.

The ratio of independent directors vis-a-vis functional directors is also a matter of concern. Deliberately, the government is not appointing functional directors in many PSUs thus influencing  their decision-making.

The employees in these PSUs, some of who are organised under different banners have been asked to keep shut and have even been intimidated if they raise voices against such attacks on the PSUs. The unfortunate part of this entire exercise is that there is hardly anything that is in the public domain about the functioning of these PSUs and people think it is their inefficiency of them that is leading to their fall. Whereas the fact is that all of this is being done with a determined plan from both outside and inside ensuring the dismantling of these PSUs and handing them over to private capital for sale at throwaway prices.

The RSS and its cohorts that claim to be ‘nationalist forces’ are actually hitting at the very foundations of the country, i.e., self-reliance towards which these PSUs have contributed a lot. The nationalism of the BJP is abject privatisation of the resources which is detrimental not only to economic development but also to Indian nationalism.

RSS’s events like sustainability in such a background are just a smokescreen digging into the coffers of the State and using them lavishly for their political interests.