Maharatna status for 4 PSUs on the cards

SAIL, ONGC, IOC, NTPC likely to get tag in 10 days

“We hope to confer Maharatna status in about 10 days ... as of now four appear to be there,” Department of Public Enterprises, Secretary, Bhaskar Chatterjee told reporters on the sidelines of a CII summit here. Asked if SAIL, ONGC, and NTPC are likely to make the cut to be in the Maharatna category, he said, “Yes, these are there and also Indian Oil Corporation.”  Under the new status, PSUs will get more autonomy and can take investment decisions up to Rs 5,000 crore without the government approval against the present limit of Rs 1,000 crore.

Of the 18 Navaratnas, firms like SAIL, ONGC and NTPC met the stiff government criteria, including a three-year track record of annual net profit of over Rs 5,000 crore, net worth of Rs 15,000 crore and turnover of Rs 25,000 crore, besides being listed entities on the bourses. At present, top performing CPSUs are accorded the Navaratna status while there is no Maharatna firm.

When asked if a scrutiny committee to accord the status to companies would be set up, Chatterjee said as of now such panel has not been constituted. “But even if the committee is set up it is only one day’s job,” he added.

CIL divestment

Meanwhile, Coal India Limited (CIL), on Saturday, said the government may divest only 10 per cent stake in the PSU in the next fiscal, against the desired 15 per cent, as regulatory provisions bars it from reserving some shares for employees.

The company also said it plans to divest additional stake of about 3 per cent in the second phase, proposed for people whose land has been acquired for mining purposes.

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