Though public sector is very essential for industries, many public sector undertakings incur huge losses and are a drain on the economy’s resources. Discuss the usefulness of public sector undertakings in the light of this fact.
Although, the mismanagement and wrong planning in PSUs may lead to misallocation and, consequently, to wastage of the scarce resources and finance but PSUs do have some positive and useful advantages.
1. Enhancing Nation’s Welfare: The main motive of the PSU was to provide goods and services that add to the welfare of the country as a whole. For example, schools, hospitals, electricity, etc. These services not only enhance welfare of country’s population but also enhance the future prospects of economic growth and development.
2. Long Gestation Projects: It was not feasible and economically viable for the private sectors to invest in the big and wide projects like basic industries and electricity, railways, roads, etc. This is because these projects need a very huge initial investment and have long gestation period. Hence, PSU is the most appropriate to invest in these projects.
3. Basic Framework: An important ideology that was inherited in the initial five year plans was that the public sector should lay down the basic framework for industrialisation that would encourage the private sector at the latter stage of industrialisation.
4. Socialist Track: In the initial years after independence, Indian planners and thinkers were more inclined towards socialist pattern. It was justified on the rational ground that if the government controls the productive resources and production, then it won’t mislead the country’s economic growth. This was the basic rationale to set up PSUs. These PSUs produce goods not according to the price signals but according to the social needs and economic welfare growth of the country.
5. Reduce Inequality of Income and Generate Employment Opportunities: It was assumed that in order to reduce inequalities of income, eradicate poverty and to raise the standard of living, government sector should invest in the economy via PSUs.