‘Maharatna’ status mooted for major public sector firms

June 22nd, 2009 - 10:06 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) The government is considering giving “maharatna” status to big public sector undertakings (PSUs) to provide them greater freedom to take strategic decisions in key areas of investment and mergers and acquisitions.
The plan to create the “maharatna” group among the so-called “navaratna” companies is part of the 100-day agenda of the ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises, a government statement said Monday.

The “navratna” scheme was introduced in 1997.

Currently 18 “navratna” companies have financial autonomy to invest up to Rs.1,000 crore in setting up joint ventures or subsidiaries abroad and freedom to decide on merger and acquisitions without the government permission.

The “navaratna” club includes companies like Coal India that has a turnover of Rs.3,526 crore and Indian Oil Corp, whose turnover stood at Rs.2.74 trillion in 2007-08.

The demand for the “maharatna” status was initially raised by oil majors.

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