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Cabinet likely to decide on Indian Oil Corporation stake sale today

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet will on Thursday consider a proposal to divest 10% in Indian Oil CorporationBSE -1.66 % ( IOCBSE -1.66 %), the country's biggest oil marketing company. The government currently holds 78.92% in the company. 

At the current market price, the stake sale could fetch about 5,400 crore, but the government is likely to keep the offer price lower to attract investors. It expects to raise around 5,000 crore from the stake sale. 

"It is on the agenda of the CCEA ( 
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs). The divestment will be done through the offer-for-sale route," said a finance ministry official. 

The company's share closed at 222.90 at the 
Bombay stock exchange, down 1.33% against a 1.04% decline in the Sensex. 

The government has a set a target of 40,000 crore through divestment proceeds this fiscal. So far, it has raised 828 crore through stake sale in MMTC and Hindustan Copper. 

The Cabinet will also consider a scheme to provide short-term crop loans at concessional rate of 7% to farmers by 
public sector banks, private bank, cooperative banks and regional rural banks. 

"The interest subvention scheme for short-term crop loans will be continued and a farmer who repays the loan on time will be able to get credit at 4% per annum," Chidambaram had said in his budget speech this year. 

The finance minister also proposed to extend the scheme to crop loans borrowed from private sector scheduled commercial banks in respect of loans given within the service area of the branch concerned. The agriculture credit target for this fiscal is 7 lakh crore. 

The Cabinet is also expected to consider official amendments to the Whistle-blowers Protection Bill . The bill seeks to set up a regular mechanism to encourage people to disclose information on corruption or wilful misuse of power by public servants, including ministers. 

The Cabinet may also consider a double tax avoidance pact between India and Zambia to prevent fiscal evasion with respect to taxes and income.