4 PSUs get maharatna status

The government today formally conferred the coveted maharatna status on four state-run companies Steel Autrhority of India Limited (SAIL), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) granting them a higher level of financial and managerial autonomy.

These companies qualified for the coveted status according to the criteria laid down by the Cabinet in December last year, which now empowers them to make foreign investments of up to Rs 5,000 crore on their own. Expressing happiness on receiving the said status SAIL chairman S K Roongta said, "SAIL is poised to play a significant role in the nation's development in the years to come. This welcome decision of the government will greatly strengthen our resolve and enhance SAIL's capability in the global context."

According to the criteria laid down by the Cabinet, the maharatna status is granted to listed navaratna central public sector companies with an average annual turnover of more than Rs 25,000 crore, net profit after tax of Rs 5,000 crore and net worth of Rs 15,000 crore during the past three years. Sources said another navratna company Coal India Limited also had a chance, but finally could not make it for not being listed on the stock exchange. Earlier, the government intended to set up a panel to examine the resources of each listed PSU, but owing to its delay in doing so, the Department of Public Enterprises is believed to have takes up the task of perusing their documents.

The autonomy to invest up to Rs 5,000 crore in JVs will be given to the companies subject to the condition that the investment is not more than 15 per cent of its net worth. Also, such an investment should not result in a PSU's total equity in JVs exceeding 30 per cent of its net worth.

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