Mega public sector undertakings ONGC, SAIL and NTPC got greater financial and operational autonomy after the government on Thursday accorded the Maharatna status to these firms to help them emerge as global giants.
The decision to name the top performing PSUs as Maharatnas 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 Rs 5,000 crore, net worth of Rs 15,000 crore and turnover of Rs 25,000 crore, besides being listed entities in the bourses.
The coveted status empowered the boards of these firms to take investment decisions up to Rs 5,000 crore as against the present Rs 1,000 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”, Ms. Soni said.
The stock market, however, was not excited by the decision. The blue-chip scrips of ONGC moved up marginally while SAIL and NTPC declined by 1.63 per cent and 1.52 per cent to Rs 232.25 and Rs 226.40 respectively in a flat market.