State-owned companies, including Oil and Natural Gas Corp, Coal India and SAIL, this fiscal will pay Rs.28,595 crore in dividend to the cash-strapped government.

The dividend payout by 23 profit-making central PSUs is about Rs.2,000 crore higher than last year, and has already been indicated or promised by the heads of the major PSUs in a recent meeting with the Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

The assurance comes as a response to the Finance Minister’s order that “in no case less dividend compared to 2012-13 will be accepted“.

He directed that CPSEs would need to declare special dividend if their capital expenditure (capex) fell short of target.

World’s largest coal producer Coal India has committed a Rs.7,958-crore dividend, the maximum among the major PSUs, to the government for the current fiscal.

Next in the line is ONGC. It has committed a Rs.5,627-crore dividend, same as last year, as the capex target of the company was almost at par up to September.

However, there were others like Indian Oil Corporation or Oil India, which quoted less dividend than last year, but the Finance Minister insisted that they should give more or at least maintain the last year’s level. A separate meeting would be held to sort out the issue.

“A dividend, amounting to Rs.440 crore, is indicated by IOC Chairman and Managing Director in the meeting. Mr. Chidambaram indicated that the proposal is not acceptable and directed it to enhance the dividend,” a source said.

Owning to various reasons, GAIL is likely to incur loss this fiscal, and it was indicated that, as a result, the dividend payout would be downward at Rs.291 crore against Rs.700 crore last year.

“But the Finance Minister directed GAIL to enhance and declare 90 per cent as interim dividend for the current year,” the source said.

NTPC had to bear the brunt of shortfall in the capex programme for the current fiscal.

Its capex plans got affected due to contractual issues in Solapur, Mejia, Bongaigaon and Barh. Hence, the power major will have to dole out more than last year. Accordingly, it has offered Rs.3,710 crore against Rs.2,667 crore paid last year.

However, there were instances also where the CPSE would pay less dividend such as in Power Grid Corporation. This is due to government’s stake dilution in the company. Last year, it had paid Rs.938 crore dividend, it would come down to Rs.746 crore for the current fiscal.

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