New Delhi: Mega public sector enterprises such as ONGC, SAIL and NTPC will get greater financial and operational autonomy as the government on Thursday approved a policy for creating a Maharatna category of top performing state-owned firms to enable them become global giants.
The decision to grant top performing PSUs the Maharatna status was taken at the meeting of the Cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“The main objective of the Maharatna scheme is to empower mega CPSEs to expand their operations and emerge as global giants,” information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni told reporters after the meeting.
Of the 18 Navaratnas, SAIL, ONGC and NTPC met the stiff criteria set by the government, including a three-year track record of annual net profit of over Rs5,000 crore, net worth of Rs15,000 crore and turnover of Rs25,000 crore, besides being listed entities in the bourses.
The coveted status empowers the boards of these firms to take investment decisions up to Rs5,000 crore as against the present Rs1,000 crore limit without seeking government approval.
“The PSUs which have the potential to become Indian Multinational Companies (MNCs), can be recognised as a separate class as Maharatnas,” Soni said.
The stock market, however, was not excited by the decision. The bluchip scrips of ONGC moved up marginally while SAIL and NTPC declined by 1.63% and 1.52% to Rs232.25 and Rs226.40 respecively in a flat market.