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Listing of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) in the equity markets targeted for the March quarter of the fiscal year 2021-22 (FY22) will be a big global event as it is expected to be the largest issue that India has seen, department of investment and public asset management (Dipam) secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey said on Wednesday.

LIC’s initial public offering (IPO) will give larger numbers and that itself will be a very big event for stock markets not only in India but also around the globe. It will be the largest issue that India has seen. That is our estimate," Pandey said at an event organized by industry lobby Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

Dipam has invited proposals from investment bankers and legal advisers to manage the LIC IPO. The central government so far has got 7,646 crore through disinvestment in FY22. It sold a 1.95% stake in Axis Bank held through the Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India in May. Earlier this month, it sold a 7.49% stake in NMDC Ltd. An offer for sale for an 8% stake in Housing and Urban Development Corp. (HUDCO) Ltd opened on Tuesday and this could help the government get 720 crore for its disinvestment kitty.

The government’s ambitious disinvestment schedule for FY22 has been delayed because of the second wave of the covid-19 pandemic. However, Dipam is confident that the 1.75 trillion target is still achievable.

With revenues expected to shrink for the second consecutive year in FY22, achieving the disinvestment target will be crucial for the finance ministry.

The government’s focus will be privatization and strategic disinvestment this fiscal, Pandey said. “Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd is a very large transaction. After probably 17 years, India needs to see some privatization. It will be a message to all stakeholders," he said.

Pandey said he is hopeful that the government’s efforts to sell Air India this fiscal year will succeed. However, he accepted that the pandemic has affected the hospitality and travel sectors, especially international travel.

“We are also sanguine that things will change as vaccination increases. India has a diaspora all around the globe. We really deserve an airline that is connected to the world and whose hub is India. How do you make it happen? We had a turnaround plan, but we didn’t succeed in the public sector. Hopefully, somebody through a transparent bidding process should be able to take it over and carry on and let employment be saved. However, it is not an easy thing to do. We have to go through the process and relentlessly pursue it with optimism and certainly we will succeed," Pandey added.

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