BHEL, GAIL may get Maharatna status soon : Praful

BHEL, GAIL may get Maharatna status soon : Praful

New Delhi: Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises minister Praful Patel on Monday said his ministry is considering granting Maharatna status to BHEL and GAIL.

The status of ‘Maharatna´ will provide greater financial and operational freedom to public sector companies.

“I have no hesitation in saying that companies like BHEL and GAIL were looked at closely and in the days to come we will go to the Cabinet to seek further freedom (by seeking Maharatna status for them)," Patel said.

He was speaking at a function jointly organised by the Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE) and the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE).

“There is definitely a move within the ministry to see that more companies are brought into the ambit of Maharatna status", he added.

At present, there are five Maharatna companies -- ONGC, Indian Oil, SAIL, NTPC and CIL-- and 15 Navratna companies, including BHEL, GAIL and NMDC.

Recently, the DPE has relaxed the eligibility criteria for PSUs to qualify for the ‘Maharatna´ status.

A company should have an average annual turnover of more than 20,000 crore in the past three years to qualify for this status, according to the new guidelines.

Earlier, annual turnover required for three consecutive year was 25,000 crore.

Also, the PSU must have net worth of over 10,000 crore and net profit of over 2,500 crore, during the past three years.

Patel said that Airport Authority of India, which is a mini-ratna company, should also be provided more operational freedom.

On independent directors with more domain knowledge, the minister said, “This is one of the areas where DPE is certainly looking to address and we will definitely come out with much more clear guidelines."

Further, he said, succession planning in all PSUs is completely an area of neglect. It must be put in place, so that companies should not be headless. They should have succession planning continuity so that there is more focus on their opeartions,“ Patel said.