In India the path chosen to reform the public sector has been to first deregulate and liberalise the economy and then to privatise public sector enterprises. Debates have raged on since then on: whether reform of state-owned enterprises is necessary; the choice of strategy and method; and the social and economic consequences of such policies. Sudhir Naib has incisively analysed, from a theoretically informed perspective, crucial aspects of this topical issue. Among the important aspects he discusses are:
whether the failure of Indian public enterprises has been exaggerated.
can public enterprises be reformed from within or are they intrinsically inefficient?
is a change in ownership the only solution?
impact of ownership and competition on the efficiency of Indian enterprises.
methods of privatisation and the experience of other countries.
impact of divestiture on performance of disinvested enterprises.
Dr Naib provides a firm-level analysis through case studies of seven partly disinvested enterprises (SAIL, BHEL, IOC, ITI, BEL, BEML, NFL). Impact of post-reform policies on enterprises is analysed in terms of changes in market share, cost structure, profitability and work culture. The strategic response of these enterprises is examined in terms of cost reduction measures, change in product portfolio, restructuring, innovation and institutional arrangement for diagnosing environmental changes.
Disinvestment in India could not have come at a more appropriate hour, Naib’s work is useful for gaining a theoretically informed perspective.
This book is one of the few comprehensive treatments of disinvestment in India. After dealing with the evolution and rationale of the public sector in India and a discussion of the influence of ownership on efficiency, the author moves on to an evaluation of privatisation and disinvestment in other parts of the world, The critical assessment of disinvestment in other parts of the world form the background to Naib’s detailed empirical account of disinvestments in India, The strength of Naib’s work is that he reviews the empirical evidence from different parts of the world and has conducted empirical studies of his own in India, The author has tried, and in large measure succeeded, in examining disinvestment of PSEs taking place currently almost throughout the world without taking an ideological position for or against the phenomenon. His survey of the theoretical literature and his concentration on empirical evidence make the book a very valuable contribution to a highly contested theme.