Structural problems of the PSBs, most of them imposed by the government and its system of political governance, has incrementally increased the government shares in 12 PSBs even as it has been seen trying really hard to offload its shares.
For instance, the huge recap infusion of Rs2.6-lakh crore into the PSBs over the past three years - to offset their bad loans - has sharply accelerated government holdings in these banks which could, in turn, limit the size of future capital infusion in certain banks. Of the 12 PSBs, the government holds 92-96 percent in four of them and 83-89 percent in five banks.
Of course, the government would like to offload its shares in PSBs. But the problem is there are very few takers for shares of PSBs despite cheap valuations of 0.4-0.6 times book. The only way investors' appetite in the shares of PSBs can be whetted up is by way of withdrawing the government's socialist hands from the functioning of these banks and driving them towards following the best global banking practices.
Once this transition takes place, investors would be glad to chase PSBs shares and enable the government to recover its cost plus profit.