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What Are Enemy Shares? Here's Why These Matter?

Roshni Agarwal

Here is a recent news piece that suggests that the government has been successful in mopping Rs. 700 crore via sale of enemy shares. Here are the complete details on what are such shares and why has the government taken such a move:

Enemy property or shares are such assets that are managed or held on behalf of an enemy subject or an enemy company. Also, such assets include those that are left behind by individuals who have now shifted to China or Pakistan and are no longer Indian natives. These assets comprise land, buildings, shares held in companies, jewellery of the citizens of enemy countries.

Who oversee such Enemy properties?

And now after the Defence of India Act ceased in existence, Enemy Property Act was enacted in the year 1968. Further, the law accorded the Custodian of Enemy Property of India (CEPI) the authority to manage and preserve such properties.

Also, it is to be noted that after the change in Enemy Property Act, 1968, successors or legal heirs of those who have migrated to any of the country including China and Pakistan cannot place their claim over such property.

Valuation of shares approved for sale that fall within the ambit of Enemy property

The approval of shares for sale under the Enemy property has been cleared by the Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi and guidelines were framed in consulation with the various agencies of revenue department such as the ED and also the officials who have experience when it comes to auctioning of confiscated properties.

Why the sale?

Enemy property sale will enable the monetization of movable assets which have been lying dormant for decades. And the proceeds will be put to social welfare programmes and other developmental work.

Recent context in relation to enemy property

In a first ever sale of enemy property which was given a go ahead to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) to sell such shares held in companies and the government in all has aggregated a sum of Rs. 700 crore, which is now included in the government's divestment receipts.

With the first-ever share sale of enemy shares as well as other ETFs, government for the second time in a row has exceeded the budget divestment target of the centre with Rs. 85,000 crore mopped up in FY 2019.

Why you need to care of sale of enemy assets?

On a broader basis, it hints at the government's exploration of all possible moves such that it's fiscal deficit does not overshoots targeted estimates. And if you are one of those, whose forefathers left the nation after transferring any such property, the same can be confiscated after the changes in the Enemy Act.

So, when India was engaged in a war with these countries including China and Pakistan, the government took hold of such properties of Chinese and Pakistan people under the Defence of India Acts.

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