The Centre on Thursday announced relaxation in norms for according the Maharatna status to Central public sector enterprises, a step that help many CPSEs acquire this tag, which gives a company more financial autonomy.

At present, four CPSEs (ONGC, Indian Oil Corp, SAIL and NTPC) have been given the Maharatna status.

As per the new guidelines issued by the Department of Public Enterprises, a company qualifying for the Maharatna status should have an average annual turnover of Rs.20,000 crore in the last three years, as against Rs.25,000 crore prescribed earlier.

It was in December, 2009, that the government announced the Maharatna scheme to give more operational freedom to the top-performing CPSEs.

“The criteria for grant of the Maharatna status to CPSEs have been re-examined in the context of representations received from various administrative ministries/departments and the need to suitably empower mega Navratna CPSEs so that they can effectively face the challenges of competition, both domestic and foreign and further expand their operations,” the new guidelines said.

Similarly, a CPSE with an average annual net worth of Rs.10,000 crore and net profit of Rs.2,500 crore for three years in a row will qualify for the status. Earlier, companies with required average annual net worth of Rs.15,000 crore and net profit of Rs.5,000 crore for three consecutive years were eligible for the tag.