Government Approves Sale Of ‘Enemy Shares’ Owned By People Who Moved To Pakistan & China
The Government on Thursday, November 8 decided to sell shares that are a part of the enemy property which were previously owned by individuals and entities who left India and moved to Pakistan following partition and the subsequent wars of 1965 and 1971.
Properties to be sold
According to The Times Of India the stocks are estimated to be valued at Rs 3,000 crore. Once the Indian citizens who left India got citizenship of Pakistan or China, they were treated as enemies and their assets were seized and held by Custodian of Enemy Property of India.
Those who moved to Pakistan were mostly Muslims and Pakistan also enacted a law to seize properties of those who moved to India.
Modi government has taken several steps to tighten provisions of the Enemy Property Act 1968. In 2016, five ordinances were issued on the subject and the Parliament finally passed the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016 in March 2017 which resulted in tightening of the laws related to confiscation of enemy property in India.
On Thursday, the Cabinet cleared a plan to sell stocks in 996 companies held by 20,323 shareholders, considered as “enemy shares” by the government, reported Reuters. A statement issued by the government that of the 996 companies in which 6.5 crore shares are held, 588 are active and 139 are listed on the stock exchange.
The statement also said, “The decision will lead to monetization of enemy shares that had been lying dormant for decades since coming into force (of) the Enemy Property Act in 1968.”
Proceeds will be used for welfare
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters that the proceeds from the shares held by the Custodian of Enemy Property will form part of the divestment receipts. He further added that the sale proceeds will be used for the welfare of people.
According to the daily, the sale of these shares will help the government in meeting divestment target of Rs 1 trillion or Rs 80,000 crore in the current fiscal year ending in March 2019. Government’s performance has not been very impressive in the seven months of this fiscal year, it has only managed to raise only about Rs 10,000 crore. The divestment target is very important for maintaining the overall fiscal deficit target for the year.
Reportedly, the number of properties with the Custodian of Enemy Property had risen from 2,100 a few years ago to about 16,000 in 2017. Nearly all of these movable properties were taken from Muslim families.